Every time Yoon-Hee’s lips quivered, a handful of light flickered in the air and then went out. But she didn’t seem to want to give up; she clenched her lips over and over again, as if repeatedly trying to cast a spell.
“Yoon-Hee!” Kim Jin-Woo was livid with rage as he wondered how long Yoon-Hee had suffered like this. As he approached Yoon-Hee and looked at her closely, he couldn’t help but feel devastated, and he lowered his head in despair. The air around her continued to flicker ever so lightly.
“What the hell were you doing!?” Kim Jin-Woo, who had never shown anger toward Angela because he considered them to be in the same boat, was lashing out unlike ever before. Instead of making excuses, Angela simply chose to stay silent. “Considering your situation, I’ve never once questioned you. But now, I have to know. No, I need to know what you were trying to do, and what you’ve been hiding behind my back.”
Yoon-Hee trembled like a little sparrow at Kim Jin-Woo’s cold-blooded tone. Normally, a trivial gesture like this would make Kim Jin-Woo give up and back off. But not this time.
“I know your mind has returned, somewhere deep inside of you. So stop pretending to be mute and say something.” Despite Kim Jin-Woo’s plea, all Yoon-Hee did was look up and stare blankly into his eyes before bowing her head once more.
“Why are you trying to open a portal all of a sudden?” Kim Jin-Woo held on to Yoon-Hee’s arms tightly, seemingly not wanting to give up on her. In fact, he was waiting for her to start moving again, even if it was just her lips.
Finally, Yoon-Hee spoke. But it was so weakly audible that Kim Jin-Woo had to practically put his ears on her lips and close out the world to listen to her voice once more. He asked, “Say that again. What did you say?”
Like a chick that had just hatched, her voice struggled to get out of her throat. Her enunciations were slurred, almost like a drunkard’s speech.
Adding on to the fact that he had no idea who she was addressing, Kim Jin-Woo was left bitterly confused as he struggled to understand what she was saying.
Kim Jin-Woo waited for Yoon-Hee to explain herself further. but with that final word, she closed her eyes and started to breathe heavily again.
“Why? Why can’t you stay here?” he asked, trying to understand the reason behind his immense headache. But she didn’t speak further. Instead, a message appeared.
[Yoon-Hee is attempting to open a portal connecting the Party Hall once more. Without the Baron’s approval, the portal will not open.]
[Will you allow the portal to connect?]
Kim Jin-Woo looked at Yoon-Hee and said, “I’ll allow it.”
Instantly, a door opened in midair. And as if she had been waiting for this moment, Yoon-Hee suddenly jumped into the portal without even looking back. Kim Jin-Woo quickly followed suit.
“Ah…” Yoon-Hee looked at Kim Jin-Woo, who had followed her into the Party Hall. She let out a little whimper, as if she felt a mix of worry and dread.
Unable to read her expression, Kim Jin-Woo asked, “You told me you couldn’t stay in my labyrinth, so I allowed the opening of the portal. So now, tell me. What’s going on?”
Having performed the Vassal’s Pledge, as well as having entered the regency contract, there was no way for her to stay out of his reach. Despite that, Kim Jin-Woo wanted to hear in Yoon-Hee’s own words why she seemed desperate to escape the Naga’s Fortress.
“Was that too difficult a question? Okay, let’s start with something simple, then.”
Despite the fact that she could start speaking, even if just a little, it didn’t mean Yoon-Hee was back to being a normal human. Even Kim Jin-Woo himself had taken an incredible amount of time to be able to talk and act like the rest of the other humans on the surface. In order to help reinvigorate Yoon-Hee’s memories and help her accomplish what he had long ago, he kept talking to her.
“Can you tell who I am?” Kim Jin-Woo asked, and Yoon-Hee nodded. He asked her another question. “So, where is this?”
He could barely make out her answer, but the fact that she was responding was good progress.
“Good. Very good. And your name is?”
“Where did you grow up?”
“What is your labyrinth’s name?”
As Kim Jin-Woo started to question her on what she knew first, she seemed to slowly regain her speaking capabilities.
“Are you unable to remember, or are you unwilling to answer?”
“Okay, let’s skip that. What were some of the things you did before you met me?”
There were signs that she might be turning hysterical again, so Kim Jin-Woo hurriedly changed the topic. But her reaction was definitely out of the ordinary.
Most of the dungeon babies who had been born and raised in the Underworld worked as manual laborers. Opening new passageways in labyrinths, digging new tunnels up to the enemy's labyrinth when a war broke out, or filling tunnels dug by enemies—those were the kinds of tasks the dungeon babies had done until they reached the surface. These were all things Yoon-Hee had had to do as well in the past.
But unexpectedly, all she did was to stay quiet and refuse to answer.
“What were the things you did?”
If it were anyone else, they would have moved on to a different question. But not Kim Jin-Woo. He instinctively knew that her past had something to do with her current situation. He repeatedly asked the same question over and over again in the same tone.
“What were the things you did?”
“Urgh…” Yoon-Hee’s face started to turn blue, as if someone were choking her. She looked as if she would faint at that very instant.
“Yoon-Hee, this is your labyrinth. No one can hurt you. Not even me.” Kim Jin-Woo did his best to calm her down and gave her all sorts of reassurances, but her face only turned more blue by the minute.
[The Underworld Noble’s unique ability, ‘Noble's Majesty - Lesser Grade’, has been activated.]
[Your target resists the coercion effect with all their might.]
[Your target was unexpectedly half-successful at resisting the effects of ‘Noble’s Majesty’. The coercion effect will be limited. Your target will be torn between fear and vigilance towards you.]
[Your target is highly confused by the limited coercion effect.]
Kim Jin-Woo, gripped by the fear that Yoon-Hee could die if left alone, even tried to use his Noble Abilities. But he failed to calm her down. Rather, she seemed to be even more terrified, as her trembling worsened.
[Your target shakes off the coercion effect.]
[Your target is temporarily paralyzed by their excessive resistance.]
Yoon-Hee looked as if she were on death’s door. Kim Jin-Woo quickly patted her on the back to try and ease her pain. Suddenly, a message appeared.
[The parasite has detected danger.]
[The parasite’s special ability, ‘Devil’s Sight’, has been activated.]
The parasite’s detection ability that had helped him out of danger countless times triggered. His body instinctively flew into combat mode. As time slowed down around him, an unearthly dark blue darkness engulfed the area where he had been until just a moment ago.
Unbeknownst to Kim Jin-Woo, his body was all ready for battle, and he looked around sharply. He saw Yoon-Hee looking at him from beyond the darkness.
Her black eyes that had been staring at him just seconds ago had changed to a blood-red color. And it wasn’t just her eyes that had changed. Along with her pale complexion, sharp fangs had begun to peek out from her lips.
Only upon seeing what lay in front of him did Kim Jin-Woo finally understand why she couldn’t leave the Underworld. “Mixed blood?” he muttered.
Yoon-Hee was indeed no ordinary human.
No attack followed. The ‘Devil’s Sight’ ability’s effect disappeared, along with the darkness that had come with it.
Yoon-Hee was looking at Kim Jin-Woo with her usual black eyes, with not a trace of blood-red in sight. She seemed to suddenly remember what she had done, as she gasped before collapsing on the spot. She seemed to have overexerted herself in resisting the coercion effect.
“Hey, Yoon-Hee. Yoon-Hee.” Kim Jin-Woo looked at Yoon-Hee as he quietly called her name. “My poor Yoon-Hee…”
Unable to leave her alone while she fainted, Kim Jin-Woo slowly embraced her.
He was slightly hesitant to hold her at first because of her sudden attack, but he tried to shake the thought away. Needless to say, what had just happened was an incident he had caused through the clumsy and unintended usage of his ability.
Besides, aside from the parasite’s warning, he hadn’t seen any message indicating the start of a battle. If she had really intended to attack him, a combat message would have appeared alongside the warning.
Angela and Dominique, who had been watching the situation unfold from the other side of the portal, ran over to him hurriedly.
“Ah, Angela. Please take care of Yoon-Hee.” Kim Jin-Woo gave them a warm smile to match their enthusiasm, and handed Yoon-Hee over to them. Angela pouted as she held up Yoon-Hee before disappearing into the distance.
<What happened?> Dominique asked.
“I’m not too sure of it myself, although I did finally find out why Yoon-Hee stayed behind in the Underworld,” Kim Jin-Woo replied. However, what he couldn’t find out was why Yoon-Hee couldn’t stay in the Naga’s Fortress. He added, “I’m going to rest, so don’t look for me unless it’s something urgent.”
Dominique pursed her lips as she looked over her master’s tired face, before deciding to stay quiet. She seemed to feel it would be better to leave him alone for now.
Kim Jin-Woo was able to easily find out that Yoon-Hee had regained her consciousness. Just as before, the message requesting permission to open a portal had appeared.
This time, Kim Jin-Woo quickly allowed it without much thought. He had simply brought her over because she had fallen unconscious and he couldn’t bear to leave her alone in the Party Hall. He had no intention of making her stay in the Naga’s Fortress.
“Portal.” He opened a portal and entered the Party Hall.
He saw a surprised, but calm Yoon-Hee, and gently struck up a conversation. He asked cautiously, “What are you so afraid of that you’re so desperate to leave the Fortress? What’s the difference between here and the Fortress? If we’re talking about safety, isn’t the Fortress safer?”
“That’s not it…” Compared to the last time, Yoon-Hee was relatively calmer. It seemed the fact that she had almost caused a major incident back then was weighing on her mind.
“Just speak. I have no intention of letting this matter rest today,” Kim Jin-Woo declared as he sat casually on the Party Hall’s throne and looked down at her. “I won’t ask any other stupid questions. All I want to know is what you were doing before you met me, how you ended up in the auction house, and why you’re so reluctant to stay in the Naga Fortress. Just these three things.”
This time, after coming to an understanding that Kim Jin-Woo wouldn’t let the matter rest, Yoon-Hee hesitated a while before finally opening her mouth.
“My mother is…” Even after opening her mouth, she couldn’t get her words out for a long time. Eventually, with a hint of resignation in her voice, she continued, “My mother is the wife of an 11th Floor Count.”
Kim Jin-Woo froze at this revelation.
“And I am the daughter of the 11th Floor Count Denarion, Lord of Nightmares…”
Kim Jin-Woo’s head spun as he tried to process everything he had just heard.
But Yoon-Hee kept going. “...A loser in the race for succession.” Her tone of voice was blunt and completely resigned, but the impact it had on those around her was massive. Angela, who had managed to hold back her voice thus far, let out an audible gasp, and Dominique turned pale.
“It must have been my destiny to lose everything as punishment for defeat, be taken away, be sold to an auction house like a beast, be abused by a noble somewhere, and then die in the Underworld,” Yoon-Hee said. And for the first time, she didn’t avoid Kim Jin-Woo’s gaze as she looked at him straight in the eyes. “But you… You changed my destiny.”
There was a spark in Yoon-Hee’s eyes, one unlike anything Kim Jin-Woo had ever seen, as she continued, “And you even changed your own destiny.”
“What does that mean?” Kim Jin-Woo, who had finally regained his composure, asked. Instead of answering, Yoon-Hee suddenly hurried over to him and kissed him. “Hhh!” Startled by her sudden kiss, Kim Jin-Woo unknowingly pulled away,
Yoon-Hee raised her head and whispered softly into his ears “You are my Master, and therefore, the right of succession I lost is now also yours.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter