After resting to his heart’s content on Earth, Sungyoon was slowly getting ready to return to the Moon. This was when he received a welcoming call.
[It has been a while, Mr. Sungyoon.]
A hearty and familiar voice came from the other side of the handphone.
When the call came, Sungyoon had been in the middle of playing a board game with Shinhae. He paused playing the game. His daughter pouted when her playtime with him had been interrupted. He stroked her head once and then pressed the handphone closer to his ear.
“It has indeed been a while, Mr. Tim.”
The person calling was Sungyoon’s ex-party member. As of late, Tim’s stock had been rapidly rising in Sungyoon's heart. So, Sungyoon's voice softened a little bit.
“How have you been?”
[Well, I’m doing pretty good. What about you, Mr. Sungyoon?]
‘Did something happen?’
Unlike his own words, Sungyoon could discern negative emotions mixed in with Tim’s words. However, he decided not to be nosy.
“I’m also doing pretty good.”
He had experienced Soobin’s rampage. He had also gained the disastrous experience of partying with other 1st Gens. Of course, it was a lie to say everything was going well. However, Sungyoon just moved past that subject.
For a short time, they exchanged small talk. However, it didn’t last that long.
[I have a request, Mr. Sungyoon. Would you like to party with us? It’ll probably be for two months.]
Party. He was sick and tired of that word. But when Tim spoke about it, it was an entirely different scenario. The clearing of his own labyrinth might become delayed, but the Ross siblings and Sungyoon had promised to raid the Great Labyrinth in the future. If it were for them, he could delay clearing his labyrinth for two months. In the past, he had been ambivalent when the Ross siblings suggested that they all raid the Great Labyrinth together. However, he had experienced the dysfunction that could happen within a party. So, he didn’t want to lose the Ross siblings. He wanted them as his party members. He would consider these two months as an investment opportunity. The Ross siblings were worth it. No, he must do this.
He didn’t hesitate in giving the answer.
“So, what happened? It isn’t as if your company doesn’t have Connectors that could raid with you.”
If it took two months, it wasn’t going to be raiding the Beginner’s Labyrinth. It meant Tim planned on raiding a Personal Labyrinth. However, a company normally provided the party members unless it was a very small one like Sungyoon’s company.
[Ah. That is...]
Tim trailed off at the end.
‘Is this the reason why he is in a bad mood?’
He could discern negative emotions mixed in with Tim’s voice, and it seemed Sungyoon had gotten a glimpse of the source.
Tim started to vent to Sungyoon.
[I was assigned my mother's labyrinth.]
He knew how much the Ross siblings loved and respected their mother, so he gave his congratulations.
[Thank you! That is why I want to clear my mother’s labyrinth once again. It is a lower rank labyrinth, so no one in my company wants to accompany us. Moreover, our company doesn’t want us to waste time clearing it. We are setting aside these two months to clear it by using our vacation time.]
It seemed another conflict had occurred between the Ross siblings and their company.
“I see. If that's the case, I’ll help out. When and where should we meet?”
[… are you sure you are ok with this?]
When Sungyoon agreed to it so easily, Tim checked if it really was ok. Even when they were in the same party, Sungyoon had kept a distance from them. Although they planned on raiding the Great Labyrinth together in the future, he called thinking there was a high chance that Sungyoon would turn him down. Moreover, Sungyoon was probably busy clearing his own labyrinth.
However, Sungyoon felt entirely different from before.
“Yes, it’s fine.”
[Thank you very much!]
Tim sounded happy.
Afterward, Tim gave the date and location of the meeting. Then they said their goodbyes, and the call ended.
“Are you done?”
Shinhae had been rolling around the dice with a bored look in her eyes. She perked up when she saw her father end the call.
“Who was it?”
“Do you remember the bear ahjussi?”
Bear ahjussi. After meeting Tim on the Moon, she had given this nickname to Tim. It seemed his large stature and height had left a deep impression on her.
“Yes. It was that ahjussi?”
Shinhae nodded. However, her interest ended there. She was more interested in the board game that they had pushed aside for a brief moment.
“It’s dad’s turn.”
Shinhae handed the pair of dice to Sungyoon, and her eyes twinkled once again. Sungyoon smiled as he did what she wanted and threw the pair of dice.
Their play time resumed.
* * *
Sungyoon returned to the Moon once again. He still had some time left before the meeting with the Ross siblings. This was why he decided to hunt in his own labyrinth. He wanted to test out his new equipment.
Many Moon Surface Vehicles were parked outside in a disorderly manner. It was Armstrong’s parking lot, yet it didn’t look like one. Sungyoon headed towards his vehicle and entered it. Usually, he would go straight to the driver’s seat and start his vehicle. However, this time, he had something else to do. He went into his living space.
The thing he had to do was to check the new Devices and Gems acquired from Nicholas.
‘Let’s check the Devices first.’
He had acquired two new Devices.
The first one was a metallic vambrace that covered half of his forearm. The slots were engraved next to each other. Since the surface area of the vambrace was larger than the bracelet, 20 slots were available on the Device. Five could slot Red rank Gems, and the rest could slot Orange rank Gems. Just by looking at this, one could guess how high in level Nicholas was as a Connector.
‘He was a highly regarded prospect. He would have needed only two or three more years to be qualified to enter the Great Labyrinth. He messed up his entire life just to kill me. Jeez!’
Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
He welcomed the vambrace type Device. He was starting to think the numerous bracelet type Devices were getting irritating to wear. When he equipped his vambrace, he could equip most of his Gems. So, he could put all other Devices inside the storage Gem.
He turned his eyes towards the second Device. Its shape was the same as the other numerous bracelet-type Devices he possessed, and it only had four slots. However, Sungyoon’s eyes shone when he saw it.
A white hexagonal slot was shining. Now, he could equip his special-ability White rank Gem. The other slots on the Device were one Black rank slot and two Red rank slots.
‘I can’t believe I got this at such an opportune time.’
In this aspect, his luck as a Connector wasn’t all bad. Of course, if he considered his life as a whole, he couldn’t say he was lucky.
Sungyoon immediately picked up a Gem. It was the White rank Gem given to him by Hyunwoo. He put it in the slot and activated it.
Sungyoon’s eyes turned round.
‘… there really are a lot of unusual special-ability Gems.’
He lightly brushed his hair to the side. However, his eyes remained rooted on the White Gem.
It was another Gem capable of evolving a Gem. Of course, Sungyoon already had a similar Gem, the Yellow rank Gem. But, the White Gem worked a little bit differently.
‘It is capable of raising only one Gem to its current rank.’
If he thought about it, it was a very useful Gem. Connectors belonging to small companies had to use whatever Gems dropped. But, this Gem would allow a Connector to raise any type of Gem to White rank with its ability.
‘Which one should I raise in rank?’
Sungyoon thought about all the Gems he possessed.
He had a lot now. He had started out with four, but now he had more than 20 Gems.
First, he thought about his weapons, shield, and armors. The physical ability Gems and magic Gems would also make good candidates. However, Sungyoon gave up on them in short order.
‘Even if I raise a Gem to White rank, I have only one slot capable of equipping a special-ability White rank Gem.’
So if one of those Gems evolved to the White Rank, it would become a Gem that he couldn’t use. This meant his choice became limited to other special ability Gems.
Sungyoon made his choice and picked a Gem.
‘It’ll take a long time, but it would be best if I can raise other Gems in rank.’
He chose the Gem that could raise the rank of Gems equipped on the same Device. He decided to raise the rank of his Yellow-rank evolution Gem.
Sungyoon grasped the Gem.
As if it was always on standby, the White Gem had been letting out a subdued white light. However, the light turned bright in an instant. Sungyoon didn’t even blink an eye as he looked down at his fist within the light.
The light disappeared.
The White Gem equipped in his bracelet broke apart as it crumbled into fragments. Soon, the fragments turned into dust and disappeared from this world.
Sungyoon slowly opened his hand.
The original Gem used to give off a yellow light, but now, it had shed its old color. It was letting out a white light. It would take him a very long time to raise the Gems to the same rank as the White evolution Gem. He would have to work hard, but at the very least, he had gained the ability to evolve any Gem to White rank over time.
‘Let’s check the other Gems this time.’
He had acquired a total of five Gems from Nicholas. Two were Red rank Gems and three were Orange rank Gems. The Red rank Gems were weapon and shield Gems. The Orange rank Gems consisted of an armor, an attack magic, and a support magic Gem.
Sungyoon activated the weapon, shield, and armor Gems all at the same time.
The equipment surrounded Sungyoon’s body.
He checked the weapon first. It was a massive double-bladed battle-ax. The sharp blades were semilunar in shape, and they looked capable of ruthlessly ripping through an enemy.
The shield was a steel kite shield with a sharp tip at the bottom. It felt sturdy and well-made.
The armor was hard steel boots. It was a type of armor that Sungyoon didn’t possess. With that, he could ruthlessly step on monsters that tried to bite his ankles.
Sungyoon really liked all three Gems.
With a satisfied expression on his face, he tried to activate the attack magic Gem. Of course, he didn’t set a target. He just needed information.
‘It is Earth magic.’
The spell shot sharp spikes from the earth to skewer the enemies. He wondered if this spell could destabilize the floor of the labyrinth. But, he had never heard of such a thing happening in a labyrinth before.
‘It is because the labyrinths are a special existence.’
Next, he looked at his support magic Gem. By activating this Gem, he could greatly increase his dynamic visual acuity. It would be very useful against monsters with high speed and agility.
He was finally done checking all his Devices and Gems.
Sungyoon got up and headed towards the driver’s seat. He had gained the general knowledge on his Gems. Now he just had to use them in live battle to make them completely his.
He pressed down on the accelerator, heading towards his labryinth.
* * *
Quite some time had passsed since he last entered this labyrinth. It was still gloomy. Sungyoon carefully looked at his surroundings as he walked forward.
Thanks to the vambrace type Device, he could cut back on the number of bracelets that he had to wear. Wearing so many bracelets had been annoying. Sometimes, he felt as if he was wearing manacles. So, he really like his current state where he wore one necklace, one vambrace, and three bracelets. That was it.
He thought he had been pretty thorough in clearing the 1st floor. However, he could still see a good number of monsters. Either they had migrated from the 2nd floor, or they had been hiding somehwere.
However, Sungyoon didn’t care. In fact, this was good for him as he had to evaluate his Gems.
The Mad Dog was like the neighborhood dog. He almost felt friendly towards it. But as the Mad Dog rushed at him, Sungyoon took out Soobin’s halberd.
It had a long reach. Moreover, the head possessed an ax blade, a spear blade, and a hook. It looked like a weapon he could trust.
He decided to just swing and see what happened. Five strength-enhancing Gems were powering him. His strength had been increased by 24 times. The Red-rank halberd cut through the air in a terrifying manner.
The ax-blade easily cut the Mad Dog into two.Previous Chapter Next Chapter