The Return Of Apocalypses Tyrant Chapter 36

Chapter 36: “Uncle Myeonghun!”

“Ah, Somin. Are you up?”

Returning with groceries in the morning, Myeonghun called out to Somin as she exited the goblin stronghold, lifting the bag to show her.

“They were distributing relief supplies at the market just now. There’s a limit on the amount, so go with Kyungin. I’ll prepare breakfast in the meantime.”

“Really? Got it. But where did dad go?”

“Hmm… Your father had some business last night and left right away. It seemed to be about a dungeon raid.”

“Eh?! He went by himself without us?”

“He said he wasn’t alone, but this time he decided to move separately.”

“That’s strange… The basic rewards of a dungeon are given to all participants. Isn’t it better if more people go together?”

Somin said, sounding slightly disappointed by Myeonghun’s words.

“Exactly what I thought. But it seems like the dungeon that will appear this time is not like that.”

“Uh-huh?”

“This dungeon is different from the last. There’s a limit on the number of people who can enter,” Myeonghun replied in a soft voice.

“I see. Limited entry… So there are dungeons like that too. Interesting. But why?”

“That is…”

* * *

“We’re the sacrifices,” Nangong said to Jang Gilsu and Park Hyoju in front of a massive sinkhole that had formed in Majang-dong.

“You might have heard about it. It’s part of the mythology that’s passed down in this world.”

“The Labyrinthos. The maze that King Minos of Crete built to confine the half-man, half-bull monster, the Minotaur. Don’t tell me that’s what lies beneath?”

Park Hyoju asked, her voice trembling at the thought.

“The king calmed the monster’s rage by offering seven young men and maidens as sacrifices every year…”

“Right. You know it well. However, our memory of the myth is a bit different.”

Nangong held out three fingers.

“Only three can enter here: a man and a woman to be sacrificed, and a guide. And once they die, another three can enter. This is given seven chances.”

“And if they all fail?”

“The doors to the labyrinth open, and the Minotaur is released. By the way, with each sacrifice consumed, it becomes stronger.”

“A terrible dungeon indeed.”

“Don’t worry. There’s no chance we’ll fail.”

Park Hyoju couldn’t hide her puzzlement at Nangong’s overly confident attitude.

“You clearly have great skills, but isn’t that too much confidence?”

“Do you think I’m being arrogant? Well, I have something else to rely on.”

At that moment, Nangong lightly patted Jang Gilsu’s shoulder.

“The best bull-catcher in Korea is right here. Isn’t that right?”

“…Don’t joke.”

At his words, Park Hyoju shook her head, clearly not wanting to discuss further.

“Hmph, I like the last part of what you said. Minotaur, some king, whatever… I don’t understand such difficult words, but if there’s a bull down there, it’s hard for me to back out.”

Jang Gilsu scratched his head as he spoke.

“Just wait a moment. I need to sharpen my knife.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Nangong smirked at his answer.

‘I don’t know the strategy for conquering the labyrinth. After all, I wasn’t the one who cleared the second dungeon.’

But insisting on Jang Gilsu for the dungeon raid was no joke.

It was indeed Jang Gilsu who had conquered the labyrinth of the Minotaur—the second dungeon.

‘I don’t know what he gained from the labyrinth, but after conquering the dungeon, Jang Gilsu started slicing through monsters at an incredible rate.’

An exponential growth.

It enabled Majang-dong to become the most powerful area in Seoul, but it also became poison that gnawed away at Jang Gilsu himself.

‘Eventually, he succumbed to madness.’

Nangong had also come here to prevent that as he strategized the dungeon raid.

“The maze within the labyrinth must be overcome alone. Once inside, we may get scattered.”

“It means we must each fend for ourselves,” Jang Gilsu remarked.

“That’s right. It might not be helpful… but someone once said, when in doubt, the right-hand path is the answer.”

“What use is that? It’s not like we’re guessing on a test… I don’t see how direction matters when hunting monsters.”

“Exactly. I don’t really know either. But it’s good to keep in mind.”

Park Hyoju grimaced at his words and leaned back carelessly on the debris lying around.

“Wake me when it’s time to leave. I’m tired from staying up all night. I need to catch some sleep.”

Despite the heavy stench of blood from the ongoing butchering work on the monsters, she closed her eyes.

Maybe it was a decision made up in her mind.

She looked very different from when she was heaving earlier.

‘She knows that stamina is the most important thing in a solo fight where we can’t rely on others.’

Indeed, she had the makings of someone well-trained.

Nangong realized once again that bringing her was an excellent choice.

‘To open the doors of the labyrinth, the gender conditions must be met. In terms of skills, Somin is exceptional, but…’

She wasn’t ready to fight alone.

No matter how skilled she was, mental strength was more important.

Though Nangong always harshly criticized Park Hyoju, in his memory, she was the most reliable woman he knew, and that impression hadn’t changed.

‘Well, I need to get ready too.’

Nangong took off his jacket and placed it over the dozing woman before turning around.

* * *

▶ You have entered the Minotaur’s Labyrinth.

▶ You have become sacrifices.

▶ Pass through the maze and ascend to the altar.

[Remaining Sacrifices: 3/3]

[Sacrifices Offered on the Altar: 0/3]

Opening his eyes, a new scenery unfolded before him.

‘This is the labyrinth.’

The path narrow enough to touch his shoulders on each side seemed endless, and numerous bifurcating paths made memorizing the direction challenging.

‘The number of sacrifices must refer to us in the maze.’

Nangong looked up at the small letters floating in the sky.

The sacrifices offered on the altar likely referred to the people who had finished the maze.

‘Even though separated, we should know if we survive through that.’

Whether that was lucky or unfortunate, he grimly smiled at the only two pieces of information provided by the dungeon.

Those numbers implied that all three were still alive, and simultaneously,

‘If the number of remaining sacrifices decreases without the number of sacrifices on the altar increasing…’

It also meant the death of someone.

But even if something happened, he couldn’t help while in the maze.

‘The only thing left is to despair over a comrade’s death.’

Nangong instantly realized that was the true terror of the labyrinth.

“Hrmm.”

He gazed at the moss-filled walls, taking in a deep breath and feeling the damp moisture.

Splish-

Stepping forward, puddles were everywhere.

The floor soaked in moisture, as much as the air, with puddles dotting the path like stepping stones.

“Water, huh… That could be useful.”

Nangong knelt on one knee and brought his palm to a puddle.

Shhhh…

The water surface, parallel to his palm, began to ripple slowly, and droplets rose, shaping into fish.

Zing-

A small emerald embedded in the bracelet around his wrist quivered.

‘Three is the limit, it seems.’

Nangong looked at the transparent fish wreathing around him with what seemed to be fatigue.

Item Number: 748090.

Name: Serpent’s Jewel

Grade: Magic (Highest)

▶ A bracelet inlaid with a fragment of a serpent’s heart.

▶ Allows control over water fish.

▶ The number of fish increases with the wearer’s mental strength.

It was a reward from hunting a serpent.

“Find the way.”

As his words ended, the summoned water fish dispersed, swimming through the air in all directions.

He slowly closed his eyes.

It wasn’t that he shared the sight with each fish, but as they scattered, their routes gradually unveiled a map unveiling in his mind.

‘Really…’

Nangong slowly brightened the maze with the fish and began to walk forward.

Over 25 years, he had discerned a rule from the numerous gates and dungeons he had encountered.

The rule was that each world boss’s drop item helped conquer the dungeon that appeared after the gate closed.

‘But the Serpent’s Jewel isn’t just an item to conquer this dungeon.’

The bracelet on his wrist was a bit peculiar.

Not just the emerald embedded within but also the four sockets that should have held gems.

‘The item isn’t called a bracelet but a jewel for that very reason.’

Hellgate items came in various types.

Items like 【Goblin Lord’s Bracelet】 were complete forms that didn’t upgrade further. Those with ‘First’ written in brackets in the grade section could level up, known as growth types.

But there was something even more special.

The combination type.

‘While they are complete forms that can’t level up, when used as ingredients under special conditions, they can craft a new item.’

The 【Serpent’s Jewel】 obtained by Nangong was exactly that.

‘Serpents, drakes, basilisks, salamanders, and wyverns.’

Collecting gems from hunting five tooth serpents could combine into a new gem.

But he had only heard rumors. He didn’t know whether collecting gems was the end or if there were other conditions.

In his past life, no one had gathered all the gems.

‘In the duration when 15 Hellgates open, the remaining four tooth serpents will appear.’

Nangong had survived until all gates opened and encountered them all.

‘In this life, I’ll achieve what no one did in my previous one.’

Clink…

Gazing at the quivering jewel in his bracelet, he nodded in satisfaction.

Boom—!!!

That was when it happened.

One of the three scattered water fish popped like a burst balloon.

“……!!”

As the energy of the water fish vanished, Nangong quickly motioned towards its direction.

Swoosh…!! Swoosh…!

The remaining water fish swam swiftly, locating the path where the former fish had exploded.

Thump! Thump!!

One by one, entering different pathways to the explosive site, the other water fish also burst.

“I’ve found it.”

A sudden strike in the maze, where nothing was before, revealed its meaning.

Nangong ran undeterred toward the residence of the labyrinth’s master.



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