After leaving Jimin’s company, Dongin and Hyunwoo got into a luxury foreign car parked in the parking lot. Dongin sat in the backseat, and Hyunwoo in the driver’s seat.
As if he felt uncomfortable, Dongin opened two buttons on his shirt. Then, he spoke in an apathetic manner.
“Did you clean up after yourself?”
His eyes were sharp as a knife, and his voice sounded like an agitated rattlesnake. An ominous murderous intent was clear in his words.
By comparison, Hyunwoo’s lips had curled to make a big smile.
It was the mocking laugh of a puppeteer who thought about his broken marionette.
“In truth, there was nothing to clean up. I had just nudged him from the back. He lost control and ambushed Woo Sungyoon. There’s all there is to it.”
The words he spoke were shocking.
“The scenario had been mostly set prior to all of this. In the beginning, Jimin’s company provided many high-rank Gems to check on Soobin's growth. However, he continued to fail in activating them. Of course, Kim Soobin came under the impression that he had reached the limit of his growth. In his obstinacy, he continued to gather high-rank Gems. But, he didn’t check the progress of his growth. It seemed his growth had merely slowed down, and not stopped. However, he was cut from his company and was having a hard time getting hired by other companies. Due to the desperation, he tried to activate the high-rank Gems he had gathered.”
“That's the excuse on how he could activate those Gems?”
“So that explains why Soobin was able to activate high-rank Gems. Why did he ambush Woo Sungyoon then?”
“He was discriminated against by the members of our company, so he no longer wanted to continue his contract with us. It was then he remembered his time at Jimin’s company. However, Jimin completely shut down his offer of rejoining. Still, Soobin remembered all the support Jimin gave him, so he wanted to contract with her company. And he believed if he killed Woo Sungyoon, Jimin would have no choice but to offer a contract to him. He believed this since Jimin had only one Connector under her company.”
“He also felt jealousy towards Woo Sungyoon, who was doing very well as a fellow 1st Gen. That’s how you are spinning it? It makes sense in many ways, but aren’t there too many holes in the story?”
“In this type of pretext, if the story is too perfect, it becomes more suspicious. Above all else, they’ll have a hard time finding a different motivation for the attack. He had openly stated it was his goal to be rehired into Jimin’s company. Also, it isn’t as if a way exists through which a Connector can use a higher rank Gem. There is no way...”
“There is no way they know about the existence of a Gem capable of increasing the level of a Connector.”
Dongin finished Hyunwoo’s sentence, and let out an uproarious laugh. He felt deep satisfaction at the fact that no one knew what they had done. However, his joy lasted only a moment, and an expression of displeasure appeared on his face.
“Did we send someone too weak? We could have sent someone else. I think we did something unnecessary by choosing a person from our company. Instead of killing Woo Sungyoon, he tanked the image of our company.”
Contempt, disgust, and annoyance were evident in his voice as he talked about a vile conspiracy. In front of Sungyoon and Jimin, he looked like a kind and worried friend of Jimin’s father. But that person was nowhere to be seen now.
“It seems we should have sent someone having a bad relationship with Woo Sungyoon. Even if the person was caught, we could have changed the narrative to a personal grudge. Still, Soobin had gathered a lot of high-rank Gems. So with the Blood Gem aiding him, I thought he would be formidable. This was borne out to be true. And according to Woo Sungyoon, Kim Soobin had been dominating him for most of the fight.”
“However, he lost.”
It was useless to act if one couldn’t bring the result. It was the case with many businessmen. They were only focused on bringing results. It didn't matter what excuse one had. It was the ultimate sin to not bring any result.
“It seems he was careless. He had multiple opportunities to kill Woo Sungyoon, yet he held back. Moreover, Woo Sungyoon is capable of activating his Gems really quickly. He used it to take Kim Soobin unawares.”
“Hmmph. It is the price of sending someone that didn’t know their place. We even gave him the precious Blood Gem. This is why 1st Gens are useless.”
While Soobin failed to do his job, the reputation of Dongin's company was stained in the process. Hence, he was gnashing his teeth. If Soobin were still alive, Dongin would have flayed him.
Unlike Dongin, Hyunwoo didn’t speak too much. Was it an illusion? But murderous intent flickered in his eyes for a brief moment.
“Anyway, the only good news to come out of this is Jimin will give up on finding traces of her father. That’ll be one less problem I have to worry about.”
Dongin pressed his body against the comfortable seat cushion.
“I’m not sure if I should be saying this, but aren’t you being too sensitive?”
“I know I am being too sensitive. However, it does bother me that the girl is making so much noise in trying to find traces of Jungbum. If she hired normal 1st Gens satisfied with making a decent living, I would not need to take direct action. However, she always hires unusually competent Connectors.”
Until he hit his limit, Kim Soobin had grown at an incredible rate. Jimin’s second Connector was a 2nd Gen. This time, her Connector was Sungyoon, who had cleared the Beginner’s Labyrinth at an incredible speed.
“When Kim Soobin showed up, I became afraid of his rapid growth. So, I scouted him. The second one was lazy. He wasn’t going to the Great Labyrinth, so I let him be. I never expected someone like Woo Sungyoon would show up.”
“It seems as if heaven is helping Jimin.”
“Hmmph! What heaven? If there is a god, it is money.”
‘What a miser.’
Hyunwoo looked at Dongin through the rear-view mirror. Dongin was a miser obsessed with money. It seemed he really believed money was the god of this world. He probably valued money over this world. Hyunwoo inwardly cursed him.
“I guess we can’t mess with them for a while?”
At Dongin’s question, Hyunwoo hid his true feelings and spoke in a calm manner.
“I think so. Right now, there is too much spotlight on the man named Woo Sungyoon. He is a 1st Gen who cleared the Beginner’s Labyrinth in a short amount of time. He also bought the enmity of a Connector named Nicholas, and consequently entered a sealed section of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. Now, this incident happened to him. A lot of eyes are on him right now. If we continue to cause a ruckus, even though we won’t be found out, people will start to have suspicions.”
Dongin agreed with Hyunwoo’s words. He felt anger arise within, but he just clicked his tongue, punching the seat of the car. It made him feel better.
“If we were able to scout Woo Sungyoon to our company, this would have all come to an end.”
If that had happened, they wouldn’t have needed to take any unnecessary risks. If Sungyoon left Jimin’s company, he'd have no reason to look for traces of Jungbum.
Traces of Jungbum. When Dongin thought about this, his old friend’s face once again appeared within his mind. He spoke as he thought about his friend, who was always confident and overflowing with positive energy.
“It would have been good if Jungbum had a flexible morality.”
He said it as if it was regrettable. Moreover, he did feel regret. Jungbum alongside Hyunwoo had been the pillars propping up his company. That was why...
“There would have been no reason for me to cut him down with my own hands.”
Dongin clicked his tongue.
It was a surprising admission. He had been close friends with Jungbum, so close that he was named as the godparent of Junbum’s children. He had boasted to others about how his closeness with Jungbum, yet he had just admitted to having a hand in his friend's death.
Hyunwoo remained calm even as he heard the admission from Dongin. It seemed this wasn’t a secret between the two.
“Do you think so too?”
“Well, I agree. It didn’t feel too good pushing someone you consider a friend to his death.”
However, no emotions of regret or remorse could be seen on Hyunwoo’s face. In fact, a small smile had appeared. It looked creepy.
“Anyway, we should focus on our work for a while. We have to keep a low profile. However, you should continue to keep an eye on the man named Woo Sungyoon.”
Hyunwoo answered him. He saw Dongin close his eyes through the rear-view mirror. It seemed their conversation had come to an end, so he fell into his thoughts as he drove. It was dangerous to have a wandering mind while driving, but he was one of the top Connectors of this country. It wasn’t difficult for him to multitask.
Hyunwoo thought about the man standing next to Jimin. He looked like a handsome man in his mid-20s. However, he was a Connector, so he was probably older than he looked. There wasn’t too much of an age gap between the two of them. Sungyoon could be considered to be his younger brother in terms of his age.
He was a 1st Gen Connector. He was supposed to be like the other 1st Gens who couldn’t clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth. However, he had cleared the Beginner’s Labyrinth much faster than most 2nd and 3rd Gen Connectors. Moreover, he could activate Gems at a much faster rate than others. Even if Soobin had underestimated him, Sungyoon had been able to defeat a much superior opponent.
‘Is he the one I want?’
His heart had stopped beating long ago, but it felt as if it was racing.
‘Soobin wasn’t the one I was looking for.’
His growth speed had been fast, but in the end, he had just been a mediocre 1st Gen. When he realized this, the anticipation in his heart was crushed. This was why Hyunwoo wanted to ruthlessly stomp Soobin for getting his hopes up. He wanted to rip that man apart.
‘However, it's fine. A new one has appeared.’
His eyes were on the traffic lanes, but all his thoughts were about Sungyoon. He was like a man thinking about his first love. His eyes were filled with deep interest.
‘How strong will you become?’
He stepped on the accelerator. He looked like a child waiting for Santa Claus.
* * *
When the two men left, Sungyoon and Jimin remained distracted. The two men had come and gone like the wind. It took time for the man and the woman to shake off the effects of their visit. After a while, they spoke about the original reason why Sungyoon had come here.
“It seems our business with Fabion has come to a conclusion.”
Jimin spoke as she drank the small amount of coffee that remained in her cup. While they met Dongin and Hyunwoo, they had sat next to each other. Sungyoon moved to sit across from her now.
“I never expected you to be so close to the two of them.”
“They are here because they had a relationship with my father. It isn’t something worth boasting about.”
‘They have ties to Hahn Jungbum.’
The two men, who had just left, were friends of Jimin’s father. It seemed the friendship developed between them had lasted beyond his death. Their relationship had moved beyond the generation to affect his daughter.
‘If I develop a good personal relationship with them, it’ll probably help Shinhae in the future.’
He hadn’t shown interest in others as he had silently worked as a Connector. But he had to think about his daughter’s future. Even if he didn’t like it, he wondered if he should once again start being sociable with others. However, in the past when he had run his own company, Sungyoon had developed a good amount of relationships. And in the end, when his company went under, they all washed their hands of him.
‘When the misfortune befell my company, none of my friends called me. However, these two men tried to help the daughter of their dead friend.’
The difference was too stark. Sungyoon became very envious of the man named Hahn Jungbum.
‘Now that I think about it...’
While he thought about Hahn Jungbum, he recalled what Jimin had said earlier.
“This is your last attempt?”
There wasn’t much context to his question, but Jimin knew what he was asking. She had been about to drink the last ounce of coffee and, for a brief moment, came to a complete stop. Then, she emptied the cup and nodded.
Sungyoon didn’t ask for details. He had asked because it had been unexpected. It wasn’t his business to know what was in her mind. He just had to fulfill his contract and attempt the raid on the Great Labyrinth.
Jimin also didn’t ask Sungyoon what he was thinking.
“Let’s talk about Nicholas this time.”
Before Soobin, he was the first Connector to cause harm to Sungyoon.
“He was also found guilty. He’ll be indefinitely banned from returning to the Moon, and he’ll rot in a cell for a while. Moreover, he had to give up his Devices, Gems, and money as recompense. Unlike Kim Soobin, he didn’t need to give up all of his Devices and Gems. It’s because he didn’t try to kill you directly. However, Nicholas possessed pretty good Devices and Gems. They said they'd transfer the Device and Gems as soon as possible. They’ll place it in the storage facility. I’ve already received the money and transferred it to your bank account.”
“It happened so quickly. Is this also thanks to the special laws of Armstrong?”
“It was delayed a little bit because Nicholas wasn’t caught red-handed.”
Two people had tried to kill Sungyoon, and both of those cases had come to a close with this. He was able to get control over his emotions thanks to Shinhae, so it was time for him to go back to clearing his labyrinth once again.
However, Jimin had a different proposal for Sungyoon.
“I thought you wouldn’t immediately want to go to the labyrinth where you killed Kim Soobin. That is why I prepared another destination for you. What do you think?”
Sungyoon blinked at the document Jimin waved in front of him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter