The flames ran amok in the labyrinth for several seconds. Then they disappeared as fast as they had appeared. However, the heat still remained. It seemed the Goblins, who had been shooting arrows, were turned into barbeque, as no arrows came toward the unknown being.
After the being eliminated all the irritants, it placed its hands on the floor once again, and the hole started slowly closing in.
Sungyoon’s party did nothing as they just watched the hole close itself and disappear.
The floor was finally fixed. The labyrinth, which they had previously been in, was nowhere to be seen. Only a hard ceiling looked down upon them. The magical energy flowing down to them through the hole was gone now, and their vision once again became blurry.
Sungyoon let out a sigh. Tim and Emily took it as a signal, so they started moving once again.
“What the hell was that thing?”
Tim shut his eyes tight and spat out his words. It was as if he had seen a ghost. No, it might have been better if that had happened instead.
“What did you say before? It had no battle capabilities?”
Emily spoke towards Tim with acid in her voice. Normally, he would retort, but this time he had nothing to say and could only smack his lips.
“I am curious. What the hell was that?”
He had thought it was a new type of monster that hadn't been discovered by anyone yet. However, that theory got derailed when he saw it fix the labyrinth. Then he intently stared at the ceiling as if trying to see the unknown being on the other side.
“Did it construct this labyrinth?”
Sungyoon answered Emily’s question.
“Anyway, we have no way of ascertaining its identity. We aren’t experts. We can return, and let the scientists figure it out. Let’s try to find out where we are right now first.”
Sungyoon spoke. The entryway which they had fallen through was completely mended. The ceiling had been remade with thick rocks, and it was too far away to attempt creating a new hole. They had to find a different entranceway. The siblings agreed with Sungyoon. Then they looked at their surroundings.
Emily, who looked up at the ceiling once again, covered her mouth in surprise.
“What’s wrong, Ms. Emily?”
“Look over there.”
Emily pointed upwards. Sungyoon and Tim followed her finger. The first thing they saw was the bedrock making up the newly made ceiling, the place that the unknown being had fixed. However, Emily’s finger was pointing off to the side. Their eyes moved to the side, and surprise appeared in their eyes.
“… traces of a battle?”
Tim took a step forward, fully tilting his head backward. Aside from the traces left behind by the newly-made hole, many scars could be seen on the ceiling. In some places, it looked as if someone had scratched deep single cuts into the ceiling. In other places, it appeared as if high heat had melted the rock. Numerous deep pits could also be seen.
Emily squatted down and picked up a rock. Then she looked at the other fragments strewn across the floor.
“By the look of these rock fragments, there are too many of them for it to be only from our fall.”
The number of fragments was too many for a single fall. Moreover, the debris covered too large of an area, and some fragments looked as if they had been melted because of high heat. It seemed these fragments were from the scars created on the ceiling.
Sungyoon approached the nearest wall and put his hand on it. The wall was caved in as if something had hit it with force.
“It’s the same for the walls.”
The three of them looked at the wall.
“Looks like there was a battle here. It must have been a very fierce fight.”
Hearing Sungyoon's words, Tim vigorously scratched the back of his head.
“Jeez. It is so hard to scratch the surface of a labyrinth. How terrifying a fight was this? How could they mess this place up like this?”
“It isn’t what you think.”
Emily went against Tim’s assessment as she approached the wall of the labyrinth. She held a hammer, her spare weapon.
She swung it towards the wall.
The surface of the wall cracked, and stone fragments fell to the ground. Tim’s eyes headed towards the crack formed in the wall.
“I see. This place can’t be compared to the inner structures of the labyrinth. It is very weak here.”
At the very least, the wall of a labyrinth wouldn’t break from a hammer swung at full force by Emily. A Connector of her caliber wouldn’t be able to do that.
“I think there was a battle here, and it weakened the ceiling. Consequently, the labyrinth floor became dangerously thin and unstable. That was why it couldn’t withstand the weight of the three of us and collapsed.”
Sungyoon gave an educated guess.
“However, the people from our company searched every inch of the labyrinth when looking for our mother. Why didn’t it collapse on them? Moreover, monsters probably walked on top of it too.”
“The battle might have occurred after their search. Maybe, we were just unlucky. We might have stepped on the unstable surface when it was close to collapsing. It could also be that the surface became more unstable because people from your company crossed this place. No one knows”
Tim cursed as he kicked a rock near his feet.
“We can’t stay here indefinitely like this. Let’s look for an exit.”
At Sungyoon’s suggestion, they started moving once again.
Soon, they could see two tunnels. One clearly headed upward, and the other went downward. For now, Sungyoon’s party decided to take the tunnel leading upwards.
It looked like a naturally formed cave as no signs of it being an artificial formation was present. One could only see uneven bedrock, and it wasn’t a complex structure like the labyrinth. Fortunately, the tunnel extended in a straight line.
Since the magical energy was thin, no monsters appeared. Moreover, the enhanced five senses of a Connector was useless here. They continued forward, but it felt as if they were walking through a thick fog.
“Was the odd thing mentioned in my mother’s diary that robot-like thing?”
Suddenly, Emily spoke up.
“This place itself is odd too.”
Tim gave his opinion. He then asked.
“What do you think, Mr. Sungyoon?”
“I’m not sure. To be honest, too many unexpected things have happened to us, and I can't answer with certainty. Both are very odd occurrences.”
The party had already experienced a lot of strange things, and this didn’t preclude the fact that they would experience more strange things in the near future.
Tim, who had been carrying on the conversation as he took the point, came to a stop. Sungyoon and Emily’s gaze also became fixed on one location.
Tim approached what he had just found.
Something existed between the walls of the cave. Unlike the uneven and bumpy surface of the cave, this wall was flat, and geometric patterns were engraved in it. It was clear that this wall was artificial.
Sungyoon stood next to Tim and placed his hand on their discovery. It felt rough.
“Is this... the outer wall of something?”
The enormous wall was reminiscent of a large building that had been buried by an earthquake.
“This is clear evidence of a civilization.”
Sungyoon mumbled to himself.
The labyrinths had floors, but there was too much randomness in how the rock formations were formed. This was why it was too flimsy of an evidence to call it a trace left behind by a civilization. However, the wall in front of them was relatively smooth and clean, geometric signs carefully engraved on its surface. The sight displayed a degree of artistry and technique.
“Civilization? Are you saying there’s a civilization on the Moon?”
Emily asked in surprise. Tim also looked surprised as he looked at Sungyoon.
“I’m not sure. A civilization might have existed here, or an alien wandering space might have crash-landed. I don’t have enough information to make that call. Moreover, I have no idea who made this. It might have been a monster, an alien, or something else. The only certainty is the fact that this was artificially created.”
Tim and Emily let out a small sigh.
“Maybe, we really might be put in a textbook at this rate.”
Tim looked excited by that prospect. He knocked on the wall and rubbed it. However, they all couldn’t stay there like that, so the party started to move once again.
Something got caught on his foot. He assumed it was a rock as he looked down, but his eyes widened once again. He bent over and picked up something. Tim and Emily turned to curiously look at him.
Sungyoon held a bunny doll in his hand. Half of its face had been destroyed, and the doll was frayed in many parts. However, one could guess its original shape.
“… it looks man-made right?”
Emily looked over the doll as she spoke.
She could see arms, legs, eyes, a nose, and a mouth. This was a bunny doll modeled to have a human form.
“Did a Connector bring this in here, and lost it? No way that happened, right?”
Tim rambled on.
The party had found the wall and now the doll. These items shouldn’t be on the Moon, so the mystery only deepened.
They gathered the mysterious item before moving, but those were the only artificial items they ran across. They continued moving forward through the seemingly endless tunnel.
Sungyoon had brought a lot of water and vitamin packs in his storage Gem, so there was no way they would die from lack of water or nutrition. Still, they had no idea where the exit was. Their surroundings were pitch-black, and they couldn't receive much external information due to the lack of magical energy. Because of all this, they were starting to become mentally fatigued. However, all of them were considerate of each other and pressed down on the urge to lash out.
The tunnel continued to ascend. At the same time, they continued to find signs of a battle. It seemed the combatants had continued to fight as they ascended the tunnel.
Tim, who had been walking in the front, came to a stop.
Emily asked her brother. However, Tim didn’t answer. His face had stiffened, and he continued to look toward one direction.
Emily also saw what Tim was watching. She had been about to yell out loud, but someone had placed a hand over her mouth. It was Sungyoon.
He put a finger on his lips as he looked at Emily. Signaling her to stay silent, he carefully watched what was in front of them.
From their angle, the surface was letting out an orange light. It had an inanimate body, and there wasn’t a single ounce of life in it. Eight gem-like eyes were embedded in its body.
It looked like the mysterious being that had fixed the labyrinth earlier.
Sungyoon’s party had witnessed its terrifyingly strong battle capability, so they were nervous and became frozen in place.
However, they soon realized something was wrong. It wasn’t moving at all. Moreover, in the previous one they saw, the eight eyes had glittered with blue light. But there was no light in the eyes here.
“Look over there.”
Emily carefully pointed towards its stomach.
The being was slumped against the wall, a large wound evident on its stomach.
“Is it dead?”
A little bit of life returned to Tim’s voice.
When they looked closer, they started seeing wounds all over its body.
“If it’s dead, shouldn't it disappear?”
“That’s only with normal monsters. This thing is a bit too special to be called a normal monster. Moreover, its job is to fix the labyrinth. It is not too odd for the corpse to be left behind like this.”
Emily and Tim continued to talk back and forth.
“… shall we test it?”
Sungyoon summoned his halberd. He could feel the gaze of the siblings as he reversed his grip and became ready to throw. Then, he threw the weapon with significant strength behind it..
The halberd bounced off it, yet the being didn’t move.
“Even if it isn’t dead… I don’t think it's capable of movement.”
Sungyoon was the first to move. He summoned his halberd, walking straight towards the being.
As he got closer, he could tell that it was significantly damaged. When he confirmed it could no longer move, his remaining worry went away.
Sungyoon stood next to the being and tried tapping it with his foot. He only felt the sensation of kicking something hard and metallic. It still showed no signs of moving, so he checked where his halberd had hit.
‘I put a lot of strength into that throw.’
He frowned when the only thing he could see was a finger-sized dent. If one considered how strong and sturdy the being's body was, there was no way they could win against it if it awakened.Previous Chapter Next Chapter