Two weeks had almost passed since Sungyoon had started exploring the 2nd floor. The exploration was going pretty smoothly. The 2nd-floor monsters corresponded to the monsters that appeared on the 4th to 7th floor of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. However, he was used to killing most of these monsters with the help of the Ross Siblings, and they were stronger than monsters from the Beginner’s Labyrinth. This was why Sungyoon was starting to reach the limit of his powers. At this rate, the 3rd floor might be too dangerous for him.
He went around the second floor. He killed monsters and drew squiggly lines that were supposed to resemble the tunnels on the 2nd floor. When he decided to leave the labyrinth, he moved toward the 1st floor. Following the arrows, he took the shortest route toward the exit. But before he reached the exit, Sungyoon came to a stop.
At the last fork leading to the exit, he found something in his path.
Sungyoon shifted his grip on his weapon as he stared at his new foe. However, no matter how hard he stared at the figure, it didn’t look like a monster. It had the form of a human.
‘There is no way another human is in this labyrinth besides me.’
Sungyoon slowly approached the figure. He was tense as he faced an unexpected situation.
Finally, Soobin caught sight of Sungyoon. He was filled with joy.
“You are Woo Sungyoon?”
Soobin grinned. Sungyoon’s eyebrows twitched. His opponent was a human, and it seemed this person knew him.
“Who are you?”
“I am your sunbae.”
Hearing the absurd answer, Sungyoon narrowed his eyes. The man in front had worn a helmet, but it was an open face helmet, and Sungyoon could clearly see his face.
‘I think I’ve seen him somewhere before.’
His face didn’t ring a bell. However, Sungyoon couldn’t conclude with certainty that the face was one he hadn't seen before. It was as if he had seen this person in passing somewhere, but he didn’t bother to remember everyone he met in passing. Moreover, Sungyoon didn’t know anyone that he would call his sunbae.
“What if I said I’m Kim Soobin? Does that ring a bell?”
Soobin told him the answer.
Kim Soobin. It was a name within Sungyoon’s memories. However, it wasn’t a good memory.
‘He’s the first Connector who betrayed the president and left her company.’
He finally understood why Soobin had named himself as Sungyoon's sunbae.
“… what brings you here?”
“I have one request for you.”
This was their first meeting, yet Soobin wasn’t using any honorifics. He was being rude, but Sungyoon didn’t say anything. His low self-esteem worked in his favor once again. However, Sungyoon felt suspicious at the content of Soobin’s words.
“… we don’t have a close-enough relationship where we can ask each other for favors.”
This was their first meeting. They were basically strangers, so why was he asking for a favor? Sungyoon’s labyrinth was far away from Armstrong, yet this man had come looking for him. This man was very suspicious.
“Don’t be like that. Just hear me out.”
He spoke in a cutesy manner. However, there was a bloodthirsty smile that refused to leave his face, as if the man was mocking Sungyoon. It clearly proved that Soobin wasn’t being honest in his request.
“… what is your request?”
“Ah! It isn’t that big of a deal.”
Soobin let out a bright laugh.
“You just have to die by my hands.”
It was as if a beam of light had shot through the short distance. If Sungyoon hadn’t been on his guard, he would have instantly lost his life to the attack.
Sungyoon quickly raised his shield.
An intense sound rang out through the labyrinth. It was hard to believe that a weapon striking the shield could create such a sound.
Sungyoon was barely able to defend against the halberd. But the attack was too strong, and Sungyoon was sent flying backward.
He was thrown to the floor. His body almost folded on itself. His entire body hurt, but Sungyoon knew he didn’t have any time to rest. He immediately got up.
“Ho-oh! As expected of someone able to clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth in a short amount of time! It seems your rumored abilities weren’t a lie!”
Was he playing with Sungyoon? Soobin didn’t track down Sungyoon, and just mocked him.
However, Sungyoon didn’t care that his attacker was making fun of him. Someone making fun of him couldn’t hurt him. It couldn’t even inflict a 1mm wound on him. He wasn’t offended at all as he had something to do right now.
He inspected his shield. A deep scar had formed on the surface of his square shield.
A chill ran down his spine. This was a Blue Gem shield. Moreover, the attack had been so fierce that he had overclocked it.
A deep wound had appeared on his shield, just from defending against a single attack.
It might be Soobin’s weapon or his physical abilities. It might be something entirely different. Due to something, Soobin had damaged Sungyoon's overclocked Blue Gem shield. It meant Sungyoon was at a significant disadvantage.
“What? Are you surprised by the power I have, considering it took me seven years to clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth?”
Soobin spoke, slowly approaching Sungyoon. He was clearly boasting. He was no different than a child boasting about the present he received from his parents.
Sungyoon didn’t respond to him. Instead of talking with his opponent, he was trying to find a way out right now.
‘As expected, that’s the only option I have.’
This man had the power to dominate his Blue Gems. Sungyoon’s options were limited. However, he knew there was one card that could get him out of this situation.
It was the hidden card that had already saved Sungyoon’s life twice before. But, he couldn’t use it right now.
Sungyoon glanced at the pocket on his pants. The Gold Gem was in there.
He had prioritized growing his other Gems, so he had placed the Yellow Gem into the Universal slot instead of the Gold Gem. He was really regretting that decision right now. However, regretting wouldn’t help him right now. It would change nothing.
He had to bide his time. He had to somehow swap out the Yellow Gem with the Gold Gem.
Soobin’s eyes twitched.
He wanted to slowly tell Sungyoon how great he was. But when he looked at the man, he found that Sungyoon wasn’t listening to him. This man was like all those bastards, who ignored him because he was a 1st Gen.
“You son of a bitch! Listen to what I have to say!”
Soobin yelled out in anger.
However, there was no way Sungyoon would listen to him. In fact, he used that opportunity to start running away.
‘I have to use this time to slot in the Gold Gem!’
Sungyoon placed his hand in his pocket and felt the hard Gem. He took a glance backward. Maybe it was because he had suddenly started to run away. His attacker didn't show any intentions of following after him. Sungyoon desperately took out the Gold Gem.
‘If I equip this, I can…!’
Sungyoon felt his movement become slower. It was as if something was pressing down on his body.
He had felt this before. It was like transitioning from the light gravity of the Moon to the heavy gravity of Armstrong or the labyrinths.
“You son of a bitch!”
He could hear Soobin cuss from behind, and he could hear him running. Sungyoon’s weight had become too heavy, so he couldn’t run away. His movements had slowed. He did his best to widen the distance as he tried to take out the Yellow Gem from its slot.
However, it was too much for him.
In the end, he had to give up on swapping the Gems during for the moment. He raised his shield.
His body was sent flying once again. Due to the impact, the Gold Gem was flung into the distance. Sungyoon despaired as he watched the golden light fly away in an arc.
He once again rolled across the ground.
He coughed. The attack was stronger than before. It was as if he had fallen to the ground with several people strapped to his body. However, Sungyoon immediately got up again. His body hurt, but he would be killed if he remained lying on the floor. He refused to die. He took a glance at the surface of his shield. The shield had taken the brunt of the second attack, and another large scar had appeared on its surface. Moreover, an ominous sound could be heard every time he moved the shield. The shield had become disfigured. The steel plate that was reinforcing the wooden shield had become malformed.
‘I can take one more blow. If things turn out well, I can take two.’
Sungyoon inwardly went over the information. It seemed his shield wouldn’t be able to take much more abuse.
“It’s a Gold Gem.”
Soobin looked at the Gem that had been sent flying into the distance.
‘That was dangerous.’
Soobin didn’t show it on the outside, but he was a bit surprised. To be precise, he didn’t know what ability the Gem held, but it was a Jewel rank Gem. This fact in itself was dangerous.
‘If that bastard had it equipped, he could have forcefully activated it...’
He felt a slight chill run down his back. His ability couldn’t contend against a Jewel rank Gem yet.
‘However, I’ll remedy that fact in short order.’
Since he had the ability of the Blood Gem, his abilities were limitless now.
‘I won’t be like him, who carries around a Jewel rank Gem for life-saving purposes only. I’ll become a Connector capable of handling a real Jewel rank Gem.’
Soobin didn’t know that Sungyoon could handle the Gold Gem. It was to be expected. He thought Sungyoon was carrying it as a one-off item that could save his life in an emergency. If he had realized that Sungyoon was advanced enough to handle the Gold Gem, he would have raged more. He would have been swept up in jealousy.
Soobin slowly approached his opponent, who looked like a cornered mouse.
“I can hear your eyes turning.”
Soobin derided Sungyoon, who continued to look at his surroundings for an exit strategy.
However, Sungyoon also let out a snort of derision.
Soobin became angry again.
This would be fun only if Sungyoon showed some kind of reaction. It wasn’t fun if he didn’t get the reaction he wanted. He looked like a loser splashing water because the river water was flowing by him.
Suddenly, the thing pressing down on Sungyoon’s body was gone.
“The gravity was lifted.”
Soobin mumbled to himself.
Gravity. It was a worrying word. Sungyoon thought about the words spoken by Soobin. If the phenomena that had affected his body was related to gravity, it all made sense. Moreover, the sensation was the same as when he adjusted to a stronger gravity.
‘It might be a spell or a special-ability Gem.’
He needed more information.
Soobin grinned at Sungyoon’s reaction. Sungyoon had been like an expressionless stone Buddha up until now. So, Soobin felt good when he saw some reaction. He wanted to see despair and misery reflected on Sungyoon’s face.
“It is useless to run away. I have a Gem with a gravity spell. I can increase your gravity eight-fold every time you try to run away!”
Soobin cackled as he spoke.
The information he had been eager to learn had been revealed to him. The information was like a much-needed rain during the drought for Sungyoon.
However, he didn’t completely trust Soobin’s words. His words might be the truth, or it might be a trick to cause Sungyoon to make a miscalculation.
But, Soobin had a triumphant look on his face. Sungyoon felt like an idiot for thinking this guy was that devious. Still, it was a possibility that Soobin was capable of acting better than a famous Hollywood actor.
He decided to save this information in his brain. Even if the information was akin to a rotten rope, he had to pack it away.
“Isn’t it amazing? You’ve only been a Connector for a year, so you probably have never seen this type of Gem before.”
Soobin stroked the Gems embedded in his bracelet.
“These are all the Gems I’ve gathered for the past seven years. I had to work from the bottom. I acquired Gems from monsters. I purchased them, and I traded for them. Everyone laughed at me for gathering these Gems when I had already reached my limit. What was I going to do by gathering Gems that I couldn’t even activate? But I ignored their derision.”
He was the pig gathering a pearl necklace. That was his nickname.
“However, I believed! I believed my rank would rise someday! I’m different from the other 1st Gen losers! I believed I would succeed!”
But, he never rose in rank. It didn’t matter how many monsters he killed, and it didn’t matter how much time he spent within the labyrinth. His rank remained the same as the rank he had entered the conglomerate with.
His rapid growth had been the product of Jimin’s excessive investment. Soobin had been on a roll since he had awakened as a Connector, and then, he had contracted with a large conglomerate. It was why Soobin hadn’t been able to accept reality. He didn’t want to believe in this reality. His pride had already grown large, and it wouldn’t allow him to accept the truth. This was why he obsessively collected high-rank Gems even though they were useless to him. His madness wouldn’t allow him to accept the reality for the past seven years, and he had gathered a good number of high-rank Gems as he toiled in the Beginner’s Labyrinth.
“However, I was able to acquire strength! I acquired strength with which I’ll make those who made fun of me bend their knees! It is the strength that’ll allow me to gain the future success that I deserve!”
Soobin yelled out loud.
“No one will be able to ignore me!”
That was the sentence. That was what he wanted to say. Sungyoon, who silently listened to Soobin’s words, came to this realization.Previous Chapter Next Chapter