Chapter 121

‘Who or what damaged it to this extent? That’s the question.’

Something or someone had damaged the being. If this opponent decided to attack them, they had no confidence that they could win against it. The fact that more might be nearby made chills run down their spine.

“What is this?”

Emily mumbled to herself as she tapped the surface of the being with her staff.

“I have no idea what it is, but let’s call it a Golem for now. We can’t keep referring to it by ‘this’, ‘that’, and ‘it’.”

“Golem?”

“Yeah. Isn’t it fitting?”

After hearing Tim’s suggestion, Emily looked at the overall form of the fallen being once again. It really fit the image of a Golem. 

“It’s not bad. What do you think, Mr. Sungyoon?”

“I agree.”

Sungyoon didn’t make a fuss and agreed with Tim.

Tim became happy when everyone consented to the name. Then his eyes once again looked at the Golem. He got on one knee and picked up a fragment that had fallen off it.

“What kind of metal is this?”

Sungyoon and Emily also picked up the fragments. It was an unusual metal which turned orange when viewed at certain angles. Sungyoon’s halberd couldn’t even chip it. Of course, they all would be interested in a metal capable of bouncing off Sungyoon's weapon.

“Wait a moment. Isn’t this...?”

It was as if Emily had an epiphany. Her voice became a bit higher.

“This is the metal that makes up the B&W rank and the Jewel rank equipment.”

“Ah!”

It seemed Tim also had an insight into this topic. It was the same for Sungyoon.

‘This is it?’

Sungyoon had never seen it, but he had heard about it. It didn’t matter how strong the Rainbow ranked weapons were because they were all made out of metals that could be found on Earth, like steel. However, the weapons above Rainbow rank were made out of some unknown metal.

If what Emily said was true, it was obvious as to why his halberd had bounced off the Golem. Even if his halberd was powerful, it was still a weapon from a Red rank Gem, a Rainbow rank Gem.

Sungyoon thought this as he needlessly nudged the Golem's leg.

‘If we want to fight this, at the very least, we need B&W rank weapons.’

Their current weapons were toothless against the Golem.

“One of the combatants that made the mess back on our way might have been this Golem.”

They had seen signs of a great battle earlier, and this Golem was capable of leaving behind those marks in the walls and ceiling. Sungyoon knew this to be true.

“I agree. It is powerful, agile, and capable of using magic. So, it can definitely leave behind the variety of damage we saw before.”

“Where’s its opponent? Who defeated it?”

At Emily’s words, Sungyoon and Tim became silent. Even if they didn’t say it out loud, all three of them had a suspicion in mind. It started to fill them with worry and apprehension.

Emily shut her mouth when she saw her companions remain silent.

As if they wanted to forcefully shake off their worries, the three of them took a closer look at the Golem. However, they couldn’t glean anything new.

“Let’s start moving again.”

The siblings had been looking at various parts of the Golem when they heard Sungyoon's words. They returned to his side.

“What shall we do with it?”

Tim spoke.

The Golem had stopped working. But even if one didn’t think too deeply about it, the Golem must be really valuable. Moreover, it would be a waste to leave it behind. Sungyoon had the same thought.

“Let’s take it.”

He placed his hand on the Golem, and the storage Gem on his Device let out a light.

Sssk!

The enormous body of the Golem disappeared in an instant. Sungyoon even stored the small fragments of metal strewn around it.

“That's really convenient.”

Tim was impressed by what he saw.

They gathered anything that looked like it could bring profit before moving once again.

The signs of battle that had occasionally appeared could no longer be seen. They had guessed one of the combatants had been the Golem, so they gained more confidence in this theory when as they walked forward.

The signs of battle were completely gone, and same was the case for the artificial structures. The only thing the party could see were the naturally formed walls of a cave. However, they had to come to a stop soon.

“… it is a dead-end.”

Emily sounded dejected. In fact, she had a feeling that the tunnel was getting narrower as time passed. In the end, a large rock wall blocked the heartless tunnel, indicating that this was the end of their road.

Sungyoon knocked on the wall with his fist. As if he wasn’t satisfied with this, he summoned his halberd and swung it a couple of times.

“It is sturdy. I don’t think there is an empty space on the other side. I don’t think we’ll be able to break through it.”

“We have no choice but to go back to where the tunnels split. We’ll take the tunnel that goes downwards this time.”

There was a bit of worry in Tim’s voice. They were trapped in an unknown place, and they had taken the tunnel upwards only to find it blocked. He felt a bit hopeless. What if they took the tunnel downwards, and there was still no exit? They would be stuck in this unknown location. Emily’s expression wasn’t that great either.

Sungyoon also started to feel anxious now. Naturally, his feet felt heavier when he had to turn back.

The party silently walked. They went past where they had recovered the immobile Golem, and then went ahead of the location where they had fell. Then choosing the downward-leading tunnel at the split, they kept walking.

The tunnel didn’t come to an end, so they were thankful for small mercies. Moreover, the tunnel didn’t always go down. It alternated between going up, down, and leveling out. They inwardly let out a sigh of relief when they realized this. In the beginning, because the tunnel kept going down, the party had felt like they were walking down into the depths of hell. 

Soon, they arrived at a large open space. It was like a hall made to greet them.

“Shall we rest a little bit before we go?”

Although they still had plenty of stamina left, Sungyoon didn’t think they would come across a better place to rest, so he gave the suggestion.

“Let’s do that.”

“Yes.”

Tim and Emily agreed with him. They found a level surface and sat close to each other.

“Aren’t you tired?”

Emily asked the Sungyoon. Worry was evident in her eyes, proof that she really was concerned about him.

“I’m fine. What about you, Ms. Emily?”

“I’m fine too.”

A small smile formed on her lips.

They were worried about each other’s well being as they conversed, and Sungyoon was a bit touched by this exchange.

‘If it were my previous party, they wouldn’t have asked how I was doing. They would have started fighting with each other because of the stress.’

Of course, the Ross siblings were also under a tremendous amount of stress, yet, they continued to look out for Sungyoon. In many ways, his feelings about locking them up as his party members got much stronger.

He gave the two of them water. The water refreshed the siblings, and Tim asked as he returned the cup.

“How much water and vitamin packs do you have left?”

“I have plenty. At the very least, I have enough for us to last a month. Please don’t worry about it.”

Sungyoon had prepared for the worst case scenario by putting most of his supplies inside the storage Gem. His foresight shone right now. The Ross siblings relaxed a little bit when they learned they learned this. They weren’t in danger of starving to death for the near future, and it was very comforting to hear that.

Tim had been sitting down with his legs extended. It almost looked like he was lying down, but he suddenly got up.

“Where are you going?”

“Restroom.”

Tim gave a short answer to Emily, and he moved to a location where the two of them couldn’t see him.

Sungyoon and Emily were left alone. If it were any other time, Emily would have been nervous. She would have tried to find ways to talk to Sungyoon. However, she was too tired right now to do that. In her own way, she was under a tremendous amount of mental stress, so she remained quiet.

Silence descended around them, but it didn’t take too long for this silence to be broken.

“Emily!”

A loud shout rang out. Sungyoon and Emily looked towards where the sound had originated in surprise. They had heard Tim’s voice.

Did something happen? They shot to their feet, heading toward the source of the sound.

Fortunately, they easily found Tim. He stood frozen as his back faced them. Thankfully, he hadn’t been attacked.

“What’s wrong!”

Still, Sungyoon didn’t let his guard down. He summoned his ax and shield, ready to swing his weapon at any moment. But even though he had yelled out the question, it was as if Tim hadn’t heard him, or maybe his mind was somewhere else, and he gave no reaction.

He was looking at something.

Sungyoon followed Tim’s gaze, and he gasped.

“That’s…”

Something was sitting against the wall of the cave.

It was a human. To be precise, it was the corpse of a human woman.

His fuzzy eyesight clearly picked up the blonde hair matted with blood. Her skin was white as a sheet. Her clothes were clinging to her body due to the dried blood. At a glance, one could tell she had died from losing a massive amount of blood. Numerous rips were present in her clothes, and one could see many wounds on her body, most of them obviously fatal.

Despite all of this, one could see that she was a very beautiful woman.

Sungyoon tilted his head.

‘She looks familiar…’

He didn’t like beautiful women, but even he couldn’t easily forget a beauty of her caliber. No. Since he didn’t like beautiful women, they left behind a distinct impression. However, he only had a sense of deja vu and couldn’t remember who this corpse was.

However, he didn’t have to think long. The answer came out from next to him.

“… mom?”

Emily, who had arrived a little bit later than Sungyoon, looked at the corpse in shock. Her mouth was falling open, so she place her hand over it. However, she couldn’t hide her eyes from twitching.

“Mom!”

She let out a scream of despair as she ran forward.

‘I see. She looks a lot like Ms. Emily.’

He understood why he had felt a sense of deja vu.

“Mom! Mom!”

Emily hugged the corpse. She had reunited with her mother after a very long time. She let go of her neck and called out to Mrs. Ross as she held her hand. However, her mother had already lost her life a long time ago and didn't respond.

Sungyoon slowly approached Tim. He still hadn’t moved, his eyes unfocused. It was proof that Tim was in a great state of shock.

‘He found his mother’s corpse at a completely unexpected location. His reaction is understandable.’

Sungyoon tapped Tim on the shoulder. Tim turned his head towards Sungyoon in an almost robotic manner.

“I’m sure your thoughts are a mess right now, and you probably don’t know what to do. But you should set aside what your head is telling you to do. Let your emotions take the lead.”

While he spoke those words, Sungyoon gestured towards Emily, who was crying as she held Mrs. Ross’ hand.

As if a switch had been turned on, Tim's eyes started to regain a bit of focus.

“M... mom.”

It was as if his frozen lips had just melted. He stumbled over his words. He was a bit unsteady on his feet as he approached Mrs. Ross.

Tuhl-suhk!

He fell to his knees next to his mother.

“Moooooooooom!”

Despair! As he held tightly to her corpse, he wailed in sorrow.

Sungyoon felt complicated emotions when he watched the Ross siblings. In the end, he decided to turn around and give them some space. He hoped it would allow them to let out their emotions without any reservation. But he stood guard in case something unexpected happened. This was a small way he could be considerate toward the feelings of the two siblings.

In between the curtain of silence, one could hear the sobbing and the pained screams from the siblings. It went on for a long time.

***

How long had it been? The screams of despair from the two lessened. When Sungyoon thought that the two of them had somewhat calmed down, he approached them once again. If he had it his way, he wanted to give them more time. He wanted to give them time to order their thoughts. But considering the situation they were in, he knew he couldn’t do that.

Tim and Emily had blank expressions on their faces as they sat on either side of Mrs. Ross’ corpse.

“Have you calmed down a little bit?”

The two of them wiped their tears as they stood up.

“Yes. We’re fine now.”

Tim answered. Emily’s eyes were puffy and red, but she also nodded.

Sungyoon once again gave them each a cup of water.

‘Thankfully, they’ve calmed down a lot.’

There had been a possibility of the shock putting the two siblings in a catatonic state. It could've made them unable to move for several days. Fortunately, they were recovering pretty quickly. They had already accepted their mother’s death in the past, and it allowed them to quickly recover from this shock.

“She is your mother, who went missing in this labyrinth.”

Sungyoon once again looked at Mrs. Ross.

Even if she was a Connector, it was almost hard to believe that she was a mother of two children. Sungyoon took a glance at Emily, who was wiping away her tears with her sleeve. He could see where Emily got her beautiful looks.

‘It has been several years, yet the corpse remained unchanged.’

Was it because there were no microorganisms that could cause decomposition?

What was the cause of her death? Why did she die here? There were many questions that had to be investigated and answered. He wanted to investigate if there was another entrance that Mrs. Ross knew about. However, he was a third party in this matter and felt reticent about searching her corpse in front of her children.

‘How should I bring this up?’

It happened when Sungyoon was hesitating.

Tim once again squatted next to Mrs. Ross, and he started to root through her pockets.

“Tim?”

Emily called out in surprise, but Tim was calm as he answered her.

“We have to investigate. We have to find the cause of her death. How did she get here? Mother might possess all the information we need.”

Emily quietly agreed with him. She didn’t have to feel good about it, but they were in a state of emergency right now.

‘... I worried for nothing.’

As expected, they were trustworthy and dependable.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter