In a small room, several fluorescent tubes lit up the ceiling with white light. The wall, ceiling, and the floor were all painted white. No furniture was present in the room. Only an operating table was located at the center. It was a sight that would make one instinctually break out in goosebumps.
A person lay on top of the operating table. No, it wasn’t a living person. It was a corpse. The body had been ruthlessly mangled, and one could tell he had died a horrible death. The identity of the corpse was none other than Kim Soobin.
His corpse had been transferred to Earth and cremated in front of his family. Yet, for some reason, that corpse was present in this nameless facility.
The door to the room opened, and Hyunwoo came in and pushed in a cart containing a lot of surgical tools. He looked at Soobin’s corpse once and then pushed the cart next to the operating table.
He picked up a scalpel. The light from the ceiling made the silver-colored scalpel shine.
Hyunwoo didn’t show any hesitation as he stabbed the scalpel into Soobin’s corpse. The beautiful silver light became buried within the grotesque chunk of flesh.
For a long time, the sound of flesh being cut could be heard within the room. Hyunwoo cut the corpse like a butcher taking apart a pig. He was very proficient at dissecting the corpse.
The internal organs of Soobin’s body were revealed. This time, Hyunwoo worked like a technician. He worked with precision, closely observing Soobin’s internal organs.
After a while, he exited from the room, leaving Soobin's corpse as if it were a frog that had been used for dissection.
He washed his dirtied hands and changed his clothes. Since he wanted a can of beer, he exited the dissection room in the basement and moved towards the 1st floor. There he discovered someone waiting for him.
“How was it?”
It was his partner in crime. Chairman Dongin poured a cup of hard liquor for himself as he asked the question. Hyunwoo didn’t look surprised at all. He sat across Dongin as he brought out a cup for himself.
“It is as we had expected. His internal organs were all damaged, and the damage to the heart was severe. Even if Woo Sungyoon hadn’t killed him, Kim Soobin wouldn’t have lived for long.”
Hyunwoo took the hard liquor away from Dongin and poured a cup for himself. He downed the liquor, which burned as it went down his throat. The sensation was blissful. After emptying his cup, he shrugged.
“Still, we gained a lot of information. Swapping out his corpse was worth it.”
“As expected, it isn’t usable yet.”
Dongin looked disappointed as he looked towards the center of the table. Reflecting the light from the white fluorescent tubes, a Blood Gem was letting out an ominous light.
“There’s no way this will be easy. This is an item that has the potential to turn common sense on top of its head.”
Hyunwoo poured another cup of alcohol.
“Still, do you think we’ll find a way if we keep experimenting?”
“I believe that’s the only way forward.”
Dongin kept swirling the ice in his cup until the ice started breaking down.
* * *
Sungyoon looked at his Moon Surface Vehicle. After he was deported to Earth, the investigative team from Armstrong had towed the vehicle back to the city. It had been completely repaired now. The completely-destroyed wheels were replaced. And if he wanted to, he could drive across the surface of the Moon right now.
“There’s nothing particularly wrong with it.”
Chelsea looked over the vehicle. She spoke as she placed her hands on her hips.
Once her vacation ended, she had come back to the research facility. Sungyoon had asked her to check the repaired vehicle, and she had readily agreed. Sungyoon could do basic maintenance when it came to normal cars. However, when it came to Moon Surface Vehicles, he knew nothing.
“It's fine. There was no problem with the swapped-out wheels. They didn’t touch anything else. The price they charged you is fair too.”
Chelsea spoke as she tapped one of the large wheels of the Moon Surface Vehicle. Thankfully, Soobin had only damaged the wheels. According to the mechanic, if the engine fee had been messed with, the repair fee would have been astronomical.
“Will it be ok to drive it now?”
Sungyoon nodded and got into the driver’s seat. Since nothing was wrong with his vehicle, he planned on driving it to the parking lot. So, he rolled down the driver’s seat window and spoke to Chelsea.
“I’ll park this guy outside of Armstrong. Please wait for me. I’ll be back in a moment, and then I'll treat you to a meal.”
“I’m not sure if I should be saying this, but are you sure about this?”
Chelsea was half suspicious and half worried.
In the past, Jimin had asked Chelsea to check up on Moon Surface Vehicle before purchasing it for Sungyoon. Jimin had told her that she would be buying her dinner as recompense.
Chelsea remembered the days when Sungyoon had looked like a beggar living in Armstrong city. Moreover, she knew that he could be a bit cheap. Hence, she was worried that he was overdoing it.
“It’s fine. I have this.”
Sungyoon showed her a card. It was a company card Jimin had given him.
“She said I can throw the money into the air if I wanted to. She ordered that by the time I get back to Earth, I must spend every single penny in the account.”
It was an extreme measure implemented by Jimin. If she left him alone, Sungyoon would once again sleep in his vehicle and only eat vitamin packs for food. She knew he would spend the least amount of money he was given. So she had threatened Sungyoon with a penalty if he didn’t expend it all. Sungyoon had no choice but to spend the money.
Chelsea let out a hollow laugh when she heard the whole story. The way Sungyoon and Jimin interacted was so unconventional that it made her head hurt.
“Also, she gave me more money, so I can buy you a meal. You don’t have to worry about it.”
“If that’s true….”
When he insisted on it like this, it wouldn’t be polite to turn him down. Moreover, she wanted to eat food produced by somewhere else than the research facility. She had lived the good life on Earth, and she was having a hard time getting used to living on the Moon again.
On that day, Chelsea once again felt overwhelming happiness as she was able to taste a variety of feasts.
* * *
Sungyoon drove across the surface of the Moon. He was starting to get a rough idea on how to get to his Personal Labyrinth even without guidance, but he wasn’t heading towards his Personal Labyrinth right now.
It was a Personal Labyrinth located six days away from Armstrong when using the Moon Surface Vehicle. It was Sungyoon’s destination.
Like Sungyoon’s labyrinth, this one had been recently assigned. It was an untouched labyrinth, and the owner had put out a request for party members. Jimin had been thoughtful in her consideration. She didn’t want Sungyoon to go back to his Personal Labyrinth so soon after he had killed Kim Soobin in there.
If Connectors were contracted to a decent-sized company, they wouldn’t have any problem gathering party members affiliated with their company. However, it seemed the Connector who was assigned the F-038 labyrinth was affiliated with a very small company. When Connectors from a small company tried to clear a labyrinth, they tried to recruit Connectors from other small companies.
‘If I want to clear my Personal Labyrinth in earnest, I have to gather other Connectors in the same fashion.’
Jimin was doing her best to support him, but it was impossible for her to match him with party members from the same company. Sungyoon had no choice. When it would become too tough for him to clear his labyrinth, he would have to gather other party members.
‘If not, I’ll have to go to another labyrinth and join a party.’
The fact that a Connector was assigned a Personal Labyrinth didn’t mean they had to clear only their labyrinth. If one was capable of becoming a member of another party, one could clear other labyrinths too. It wouldn’t cause any problems. Most of the Connectors from small companies formed parties and picked one of the Personal Labyrinths they wanted to clear. This was also the same for larger companies. Each Connector possessed a labyrinth, and they chose which labyrinth they wanted to clear based on income potential and difficulty. They focused on the labyrinth which they were best suited to clearing.
Currently, Sungyoon was going to a labyrinth that wanted a temporary party. The owner wanted to explore and gauge the general rank of the labyrinth. If they had wanted a permanent party, Jimin wouldn’t have sent Sungyoon there. This was why the level of Connectors being gathered was quite low.
‘They said it is a labyrinth owned by a 1st Gen.’
The 1st Gen wouldn’t be on the same level as Sungyoon. Sungyoon was classified as a 1st Gen, but he possessed abilities that far outstripped a regular 1st Gen.
However, Jimin had to find this job in a hurry after the incident with Soobin. It couldn’t be helped that the opportunity wasn’t that great. But she didn’t consider this to be too bad of an opportunity. There was another reason why she had gone with this plan.
‘She wants me to experience the true reality of teaming up with other Connectors.’
Sungyoon had only experienced partying up with Tim and Emily. Both siblings had very good character traits, and he had never felt uncomfortable partying up with them. Of course, he knew not all people were like the two siblings. In fact, good people like Tim and Emily were in short supply.
If Sungyoon wanted to continue raiding labyrinths, he had to experience teaming up with regular party members. But the probability of him finding extremely good party members like the Ross siblings was extremely low.
If he had his way, he wanted to continue with the Ross siblings. However, the Ross siblings were contracted to a pretty large and famous company. Their company wouldn’t allow them to team up with a 1st Gen from a small company. The fact that they had been able to party up with each other in the Beginner’s Labyrinth had been a very rare incident.
Sungyoon had a hard time trusting others, so this wasn’t a good situation for him. If it were up to him, he wanted to turn the vehicle around.
However, if he wanted to raid the Great Labyrinth in the future, he needed experience teaming up with other Connectors. So, he pushed down on his disagreeable feelings as he drove the vehicle.
Sungyoon looked at his watch. His watch indicated it was very late right now.
He stopped his vehicle. The promised time was still away, so he didn’t need to drive all night.
Sungyoon got up from the driver’s seat and headed towards the sleeping area in the back. He sat on the bed and laid all his Devices and Gems on the bed.
The number of Devices and Gems he possessed now was truly great. He had received all the Devices and Gems used by Soobin.
As he looked at his newly-acquired Devices and Gems, Sungyoon could understand why Soobin had boasted about them.
First, Sungyoon decided to check the Gems.
There were the Gems that he had used for a short amount of time, the Red rank halberd and the Orange rank Gem that enhanced his strength by seven-folds. Aside from lamellar armor, there was the Yellow rank helmet, arm and leg armor. He possessed Blue rank Gems capable of casting gravity magic and healing magic. Then there was the Blue rank Gem capable of increasing strength by four-fold and another Blue rank Gem capable of increasing his senses by four-fold.
Finally, there was another Blue rank Gem with quite the unique ability called Object Storage.
It was a special-ability Gem with the shape of a hexagon. It could store objects in a special domain. Normally, the Connectors used these types of Gems to store water and food, but they also used it to transport moonstones.
The investigative team had found that Soobin hadn’t used a vehicle to travel to Sungyoon’s labyrinth. He had traveled using only his own two legs. It seemed he had used the Gem capable of storing water and food to great effect.
‘What a wretched bastard!’
Did Soobin really want to kill Sungyoon that much? He couldn’t say he had lived a perfect life, but his life had been good enough so that he shouldn’t have bought enmity from others. In fact, he could make a case that he had taken the short end of the stick in life.
Sungyoon cussed out Soobin once again even though he was dead.
‘He said he had sold all his low-rank Gems.’
Sungyoon hadn’t received many low-rank Gems. It seemed Soobin had coveted high-rank Gems. According to the investigation, Soobin had been financially broke at the end. When he found out he could use high-rank Gems, it was assumed he had sold all the Gems he didn’t need in order to fund his purchases of higher rank Gems.
However, Sungyoon didn’t care. He no longer needed the lower rank Gems.
‘When I look back at the fight, it seemed he didn’t have any more Gems he could use in battle.’
In the fight against Soobin, Sungyoon had been worried that his enemy had more Gems at his disposal. This was why he had been strict in not giving him time to activate any more Gems. He realized his efforts had been overkill. He felt a bit aggrieved by this, but he had come out of the fight with his life intact. So he decided to let it go.
His gaze went to the Devices this time. There were three bracelet-type Devices and one necklace-type Device.
Sungyoon had used this bracelet for a brief amount of time before. It was the bracelet type Device capable of equipping the Red rank weapon Gem, the Orange-rank body-ability Gem, and the Orange-rank armor Gem. It was the first Device to catch his eyes. The second bracelet could slot three yellow-rank armor Gems, and one blue-rank special-ability Gem. The third bracelet Device could slot Green-rank physical-ability Gem, two blue-rank physical-ability Gems, a blue-rank attack magic Gem, and a blue rank support magic Gem.
The Gems mostly matched up with the Devices. It seemed Soobin had made sure the Gems and the Devices matched up when he gathered them.Previous Chapter Next Chapter