Records of Dungeon Travel - Chapter 180
Even before the screams ended, the doors were smashed open, and blue light flashed in the distance.
A scream erupted from right next to him, but Song Jong-Chul found himself unable to move. A formidable presence pressed down on him to the point that he wasn’t even able to lift a single finger.
The sound of broken wood fragments being trampled pierced his ears. Song Jong-Chul was getting highly irritated by the noise as it ate away at his eardrums.
“You…” Song Jong-Chul barely managed to get out a word.
“I should have done this a long time ago, but I dragged this out for too long,” said a soft voice, drowning out Song Jong-Chul. A bloodied Kim Jin-Woo appeared and said, “It’s been a while, Song Jong-Chul.” He stared at Song Jong-Chul with blue streaks of light flowing from his eyes and grinned.
“You fucking bastard.” The moment he saw the eerie smile on Kim Jin-Woo’s lips, Song Jong-Chul’s blood drained from his face. Pushed into a corner, he quickly pulled out the best card he had up his sleeves. “Do you not care what happens to your adoptive father!?”
He thought that the highly filial Kim Jin-Woo would be swayed by those words. But alas, it was nothing but a futile attempt.
“I’d hoped that you’d at least die like a man in the end,” Kim Jin-Woo said.
When he heard the words ‘in the end’, Song Jong-Chul realized that all the measures he had prepared were no longer of any use. He collapsed onto the floor, pleading. “I didn’t do it because I wanted to! I was only following orders…”
But before he could finish speaking, there was a flash before his eyes, and he was hit with a nauseating pain. White shards fell, mixed with bright blood, and Song Jong-Chul grabbed his completely shattered chin and let out a blood-curdling scream.
“I never thought you were the boss anyway,” Kim Jin-Soo said as he approached Song Jong-Chul.
“W-wait!” Song Jong-Chul feared he was going to die without any possible chance of negotiation, as he grabbed onto his rattling chin and begged. “I-I’ll tell you everything I know!”
He slammed his head against the floor as he hung onto Kim Jin-Woo’s leg in desperation. “I’ll give you anything you want! Money, fame, power! I'll give you anything you want! No, if you're not interested in the surface, I'll give you anything you want, even in the Underworld! You can't even imagine who’s backing me…”
“Not interested, you son of a bitch,” Kim Jin-Woo cut him off coldly.
Song Jong-Chul lifted his head in response. He could no longer bear the itching pain at the back of his head. And when he lifted his head, he saw Kim Jin-Woo raising his right foot.
Song Jong-Chul’s body smashed onto the floor as it rattled from the sheer power of Kim Jin-Woo’s stomp.
Kim Jin-Woo’s expression didn’t change at all as he stared at Song Jong-Chul’s corpse. But suddenly, he checked his surroundings, turning his attention away and saying, “It’s about time you show yourself.”
Apart from Kim Jin-Woo, the corpse was the only other thing in the room, and yet, he was staring intently at the corner of the office as if there were somebody there. He continued, “You’re going to regret it if you continue fooling around.”
Surprisingly, the air quivered and a voice replied, “As expected, you noticed me.”
“Are you going to continue playing hide and seek while you yap away?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.
“I’m just really scared. I have no intention of showing up in front of the angry Highlord,” the voice replied. The moment the voice spoke the word ‘Highlord’, Kim Jin-Woo’s aura darkened.
“Whoa, whoa! Calm down. I’m not your enemy.” The voice faded away with a squeak.
Kim Jin-Woo’s eyes narrowed as he looked around, but when he felt no presence of any other being, he calmed himself down with a deep breath. ‘Seeing as you know who I am, it looks like this conversation won’t be short.”
“If information is what you’re after, wouldn’t it have been better to listen to Song Jong-Chul?” the voice asked.
“That may be true, but usually these assholes use that as an excuse to find a way to try and make a comeback,” Kim Jin-Woo said as his attention turned toward an empty space.
The noisy voice suddenly fell silent. It seemed the mysterious person was worried about his position being exposed. But even against such sly maneuvers, Kim Jin-Woo didn’t budge an inch.
“And if we’re talking about information…” Kim Jin-Woo glanced around the empty space where nothing could be seen, before making a small gesture with his hand.
And with the sound of flapping wings, Morrigan appeared, gripping the neck of a stranger that hadn’t been present until then.
Kim Jin-Woo finished, “…It’s much easier to obtain it from the Underworld.”
Having achieved his objectives, Kim Jin-Woo left the Association.
Through Park Sung-Jin, he had selectively killed only those who were deeply involved with the Association’s scummy acts, and yet, there were ultimately no survivors left in the Association building. That was how deeply corrupted the Association, and the dungeon babies, had been to the core.
Thus, since he was going to get his hands dirty anyway, he decided to cleanse the Association from the inside out. There was nothing to gain by absorbing such a rotten Association, and he was also concerned about the backer Song Jong-Chul had mentioned.
“Urgh, I think you can let go of me now.” The unidentified man, suffering from Morrigan’s wretched grip as they left the Association, continued to grumble in pain.
“Let go of him.” Seeing that they were now alone, Kim Jin-Woo decided that it was now a good time to hear the mysterious being out.
The man coughed dryly several times before belatedly introducing himself. “I saw you several times in the last war, but this is the first time I’ve greeted you like this. Nice to meet you, great Conqueror. I’m Tyrenon, messenger of the 11th Floor Count, the Lady of Wisdom and the Queen of Sages, Lady Bryntess.”
The man calling himself Tyrenon looked like a parched corpse with his skinny body and unusually pale skin. But at first glance, he didn’t look too different from a human being.
“Seeing the majesty of the Undefeated Conqueror with my own eyes, I now understand that the rumors weren’t the slightest bit exaggerated.” Tyrenon waved his bare arms gracefully and greeted Kim Jin-Woo in a splendid manner.
“I was wondering who you are, but I guess you’re the messenger sent out by the Lady of Corruption,” Kim Jin-Woo said.
“Only those who are unfamiliar with Lady Bryntess call her the Lady of Corruption, which is unsuitable for the wisest and most benevolent queen of the Underworld.”
Tyrenon’s exaggerated remarks seemed comical, but there was not a hint of a smile on Kim Jin-Woo’s face. Bryntess was one of the 11th Floor Counts, and also one of the least known. And as she had sent out her messenger to the surface to meet him and not the Underworld, Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but overthink the situation.
“So, what is the messenger of the wise queen doing here on the surface?” Kim Jin-Woo asked, his eyes gleaming like polished glass. His Eyes of Truth had long since been active, and he was watching Tyrenon’s every move.
His gaze must have disturbed Tyrenon, who avoided making eye contact, but that didn’t stop the messenger from talking. “Honestly, I’d love to tell you everything, but my Queen doesn’t like it when I’m too chatty.”
“I think you’d find it more painful to not listen to me right now than to listen to your queen far below,” Kim Jin-Woo said.
Tyrenon simply smirked at the subtle threat. “If you speak so harshly, how can a mere lowly being like myself go against you? Please have mercy on me and let me keep my integrity.” He spoke as if he were living on a knife's edge, and yet, there was a hint of cunning in his eyes.
“Then let me ask you a few questions without you breaking your integrity. If you can’t answer this, even I won’t tolerate it anymore, so think carefully before answering.” Kim Jin-Woo drew the line and made it clear that there were going to be no more concessions. Tyrenon realized that he could no longer avoid answering questions, as he quietly waited for them.
“How did you know I had ascended to the title of Highlord?” Kim Jin-Woo asked.
“I knew it the moment I saw you,” Tyrenon replied.
“Then does your master know about this?”
When Kim Jin-Woo had robbed the safe at the Association building, he’d felt a strange gaze. At the time, he’d paid no attention to it, as not even his parasite had detected the oddity, but after meeting Tyrenon, it made sense. This sinister messenger of the Underworld must have been the one who had seen him that day.
“There’s nothing my Queen doesn’t know; she knows of this as well,” Tyrenon said.
It was a vague response, but Kim Jin-Woo didn’t probe further as he changed the question. “What’s your relationship with Song Jong-Chul?”
“We were just business partners, buying and selling items to each other that the other party needed.”
“Is the benefactor that Song Jong-Chul was referring to the Lady of Corruption?”
“What would the great Lady of the Underworld see in that lowly baboon?”
“Then was it your master’s will to deliver the Labyrinth Core to Song Jong-Chul?”
“It was just that the labyrinth core was among the list of transactions. There’s no other meaning to it.”
“Are you dealing with any other humans aside from Song Jong-Chul?”
“As long as the price is right, we’re open to trade with anyone.”
Tyrenon’s answers weren’t as great as Kim Jin-Woo had anticipated. His questioning continued for a while, and each time, Tyrenon responded immediately without hesitation. When the interrogation was finally complete, he willingly let Tyrenon go.
“My Queen is highly interested in the Highlord, the great Conqueror and Undefeated Commander. Now, if you may, I’ll take my leave,” Tyrenon said. Kim Jin-Woo didn’t respond, but Tyrenon vanished with a happy face, as if permission had already been granted.
Morrigan stared at the spot Tyrenon had vanished from before voicing her concern. “Don’t you think you let him go too easily? If he tells his master everything about the Highlord, things might get complicated.”
“The Lady of Corruption already knows I’ve ascended to the title of Highlord. Even if I don’t send that messenger back, it won’t mean she doesn’t already know about that fact,” Kim Jin-Woo replied.
“That guy is no ordinary messenger. The next time we try to catch him, he’ll never let himself get caught. Since the situation already turned out this way, I think it would have been better if we had held onto him and extracted every last bit of information we could out of him,” Morrigan said, seemingly disappointed that Tyrenon was left off so easily.
But Kim Jin-Woo looked at her and shook her head. Tyrenon hadn’t been caught because he was weak. He had revealed his presence just barely enough to get himself caught.
Kim Jin-Woo hadn’t realized that at first, but when he had seen Tyrenon’s stealth ability with his own eyes as the messenger said his farewells, he was convinced of it. Neither he nor Morrigan could detect him afterward. Thus, if such a being were to be found again, it was because he wanted to be found.
Kim Jin-Woo couldn’t help but think that Tyrenon or his master was up to something, and he wanted to know what that was.
It was very likely that what they were after was the secret behind the Highlord’s powers, or some other power that he himself was not yet aware of, or maybe the power itself. The same had happened with Anatolius, Parthenon, and Denarion. Bryntess was probably no exception.
“What’s that nonsense about doing my best to hide this secret? Looks like every donkey knows about the Highlord,” Kim Jin-Woo muttered.
Only then did the message windows telling him to hide from the eyes of the Usurper sound ridiculous. But it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as the 11th Floor Counts wanted the Highlord’s powers, they wouldn’t stop trying to hide the 9th Floor from the Usurper.
That was why he had used the Highlord’s powers to pressure Tyrenon, who had replied with a mix of truths and half-truths, and equally responded with his own set of truths and half-truths in moderation. There was no need for him to get so personal with the Lady of Corruption right away, so it was for the best that he exercised moderation as of this moment.
“The one who laughs last is the real winner, after all.” Kim Jin-Woo stared at the spot Tyrenon had disappeared from as he spoke to himself in a cool, calm tone.