Tim searched Mrs. Ross’ pocket.
“It should be around here somewhere.”
“What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for mother’s diary entries. You know she normally used to write short notes in the labyrinth and add texture to the story later after returning to Earth. She had probably written notes about her time up here. It might give us a clue about her death.”
He found nothing in the left pocket. So, he checked the right pocket this time, but this was his dead mother’s corpse, so he remained careful and respectful in his search.
“… I found it.”
Tim brought out a piece of paper. It had been folded several times, and it had become a bit crumpled. He carefully opened it up. Sungyoon and Emily also looked at the paper.
The words were written in elegant cursive writing.
There were actually several pages of paper. Tim's eyes quickly moved through them as he read the content.
“Most of the information is unimportant.”
He flipped through several pages as he spoke in an off-handed manner. However, an extreme longing was evident in his voice. The papers contained accounts of the mundane events that daily occurred in his mother's life, including how much she missed her family. He felt himself choke up. He was close to crying once again. Emily, who was reading along next to him, was also on the verge of shedding tears. However, Tim pressed down on the urge and continued reading.
His eyes moved busily, but they came to a stop at a certain passage. He started to read the entry out loud from that point on.
[I finally descended onto the 8th floor. It was a boring place. Even the strongest monsters were just Orcs. However, I returned to the place where I stumbled upon an open space behind a large boulder. It was very interesting. A doorway was buried within the labyrinth wall. Who could've imagined such a thing existed?]
“Eighth floor? Didn’t we fall from the 7th floor?”
“It seems there is another point of entry.”
Emily and Sungyoon conversed with each other. Tim continued to read the entries.
[When I found it, I told no one. I plan on telling others at a later date. I have found something new and exciting. I want to monopolize the happiness that comes with finding something new. Ah! I wonder what kind of a world is behind this door? I feel the same excitement I felt when I entered a labyrinth for the very first time. It feels as if my unbeating heart is racing.]
Tim folded the papers.
“Her notes end there.”
“It seems your mother was very adventurous.”
Tim let out a bitter laugh at Sungyoon’s words.
“She was unbelievably adventurous.”
However, her adventurous spirit had led her to make a bad decision.
Tim slowly put the papers away.
“Fortunately, there is another exit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t say why our mother died. I guess she didn’t have the time to write another entry.”
This was the last entry in his mother’s notes, so he felt very sad. However, his sadness was premature.
“… what is this?”
Emily found something in the left hand of Mrs. Ross, who was holding tightly to it. Tim immediately crouched on the left side of his mother and carefully pried open her fingers. A page fell out.
“… it is the next entry.”
Tim’s eyes shone. This crumpled piece of paper didn’t have words written in elegant cursive. One could tell that the words were written in desperation, and his mother had crammed as many words on the page as she could. Blood had dripped onto the paper, telling as to what kind of situation she was in when writing this entry.
Tim immediately started reading.
[I was wrong. I forgot that a labyrinth isn’t a place that you explore because you feel adventurous. I’m going to die soon. I took too many fatal wounds. My healing magic is all used up, and I can't do anything about these wounds.]
A melancholy scent of death emanated from her words. Tim’s voice shook a bit as he read the letter. However, he firmed his resolve and continued.
[I had opened the door and entered this new space. The magical energy was thin, but I did not think it was some secret space. It looked like a naturally occurring cave underneath the Moon. My sight had worsened due to the thinned out magical energy, and I met no monsters. I explored the region around the door, but what I saw disappointed me. However, it appeared at that moment.]
The three of them instinctively knew what ‘it’ was referring to.
[A Mana Stream suddenly erupted, and something looking like a large robot appeared. While I was taken aback, it started to block the only exit by forming rock and earth over the door. The only entrance was being sealed up, so I attacked it. But its battle capability was beyond my imagination.]
The sight of the Golem slaughtering the Goblins with overwhelming force flashed through their heads.
[I was having a hard time hitting it, and when I did hit it, all my attacks were rebuffed. On the other hand, each of its attacks was terrifyingly powerful. In the end, I had to run away. But it chased after me. I thought it was going to catch up and kill me in an instant. However, as time passed, it started to weaken for some reason.]
Sungyoon’s eyes shone. He became interested when he realized he might be able to find out the Golem’s weakness.
[Its speed, defense, and offense noticeably suffered as it chased me. I came to the decision that I couldn’t run forever. When I thought it became sufficiently weakened, I risked it all and faced it head-on. I barely defeated it.]
‘As expected, Mrs. Ross was the one that defeated the Golem.’
They were able to confirm that the signs of battle left behind in this region came from the fight between the Golem and Mrs. Ross. Sungyoon let out a sigh of relief when he realized there was nothing left behind here that would ambush them.
[Still, I have received too many large wounds. I can feel my life bleeding out of me. I tried to get back to the door, but this is as far as I can go.]
Tim stopped reading for a brief moment. His eyes shook. But he took a deep breath and started to read the rest.
[If someone is reading this, I’ll give you all the rights to my Gems, Devices, and moonstones. So please grant me this one request. My children will be shocked when they hear the news of my death. Please deliver these words to them. Mom...really...loved..both..of..you.]
In the end, Tim sobbed as he read out loud his mother’s final words. Emily stood next to him, and she wiped away the tears that showed no signs of stopping.
Sungyoon waited for them to pick up the pieces of their heart.
Soon, Tim’s tears stopped. He moved deliberately as he folded the page in his hands and put it away.
“Fortunately, there’s nothing here that’ll threaten us.”
Tim rubbed at his red eyes as he stood up. He looked down at his mother’s corpse before turning towards Sungyoon.
“I’m sorry to ask this of you, Mr. Sungyoon. May you store away my mother’s body?”
He was asking him to put the body into the storage Gem. It was theorized that the items inside the storage Gem did not interact with each other, yet some might feel reticent about storing a corpse inside the Gem. This was why Tim was careful with his request.
However, Sungyoon willingly consented to it.
“Of course. It’s the least I can do for both of you.”
“Thank you very much.”
Tim started to take his mother's Devices and Gems. As expected of an outstanding Connector, she possessed very high-rank Gems. It seemed her reputation was well-founded. Most of her Gems were high-rank Rainbow rank Gems, and Sungyoon could occasionally see B&W Gems too.
“We don’t know what might happen. We have to increase our battle capability now.”
As he mumbled those words, Tim looked towards Sungyoon.
“Do you have any preference on which Gem you want, Mr. Sungyoon?”
It seemed Tim planned on giving Sungyoon a high-rank Gem or a Device. But Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“I’m fine. These are the keepsakes from your mother. It is right for both of you to have it all.”
“No. Even if she’s our mother, it is a case where we found a neglected corpse in a labyrinth. There is a reward given to those that bring the body, Devices, and Gems to the family of the deceased or the company. Of course, we are the bereaved family, but you were also one of the people who found the body. We have to give compensation to you.”
That really was the case. Sungyoon had found a corpse in the Beginner’s Labyrinth before, and he had returned the Connector’s Devices and Gems, receiving compensation after. But he once again shook his head from side to side.
“Even if that is true, I’m fine. We aren’t talking about a stranger. These are the keepsakes of your mother, and I don't feel right taking them.”
He really felt that way. Moreover, this would allow the two siblings to acquire high-rank Gems and Devices. It would speed up their timetable to enter the Great Labyrinth. That was in his calculation too. If he thought about the Great Labyrinth’s level of difficulty, he wouldn’t be the only one that needed to get powerful. The siblings had to get stronger too. Moreover, he had a Gem that could evolve other Gems to White rank. So he wasn’t too desperate to acquire Gems below White rank. All of these factors had an influence on his decision.
“Still, we will feel bad if you refuse.”
However, Tim continued to insist.
“If you are adamant about this, just give me a couple low-rank Gems you don’t need. That is enough for me.”
Sungyoon gave ground a little bit. If he could evolve a couple of the low-rank Gems, they might be usable in the future. However, the Ross siblings didn’t sound too satisfied with that suggestion either.
‘What should we do?’
Tim eyed Emily. In truth, he was really thankful that Sungyoon had given such a proposal. It was as Sungyoon had said. These Devices and Gems were the keepsakes of their mother. If he had his way, he wanted to keep them all. However, he couldn’t do that as he would feel bad towards Sungyoon.
Emily’s head worked furiously, and soon, she came up with an idea.
“So, you are saying you won’t take the Devices and Gems because they are keepsakes of our mother?”
“Alright. We’ll take all the Devices and Gems. Thank you very much for conceding your rights to them.”
He never expected her to accept the rights to all the Devices and Gems so easily. Tim was taken aback. But, his sister wasn’t done yet.
“However, we have to give up rights to something that is of equal value to what we got.”
“As I’ve said before, you just have to give me a couple of low-rank Gems.”
“No. That would create an imbalance.”
Emily looked at Tim.
“That is why we’ll give up all our rights to the Golem we found earlier. We’ll let him have it. Do you have any complaints, Tim?”
In the beginning, he didn’t understand what she was talking about, so he asked back. However, it didn’t take him too long to get her meaning.
Sungyoon’s storage Gem held the Golem, and since the three of them had found it, all three of them held shared rights to it. But Emily was talking about handing full rights to Sungyoon right now.
“Ah. I see! I have no problem with that! Mmm! Of course!”
He nodded so vigorously that it could make one wonder if he'd dislocate his neck. Since the other right holder had given the go-ahead, there would be no problem in doing this. Emily spoke.
“It is as you've heard, Mr. Sungyoon. We’ll hand over the Golem to you.”
Sungyoon looked at her.
It was obvious to everyone that the Golem was very precious. The reward for bringing it back would be significant. It might be worth more than most Gems and Devices, yet there wasn’t an ounce of hesitation within Emily.
“For your information, we won’t budge from this offer.”
Her usual introverted and reserved personality was nowhere to be seen. She looked straight into his eyes.
Sungyoon let out a small sigh.
“It seems you won’t budge no matter what I say. Understood. I’ll take possession of the Golem.”
‘Will Ms. Chelsea like it if I give this to her?’
The only researcher he knew was Chelsea. Sungyoon thought about the various scenarios that’d allow him to take full advantage of owning a Golem.
“Thank you very much.”
Emily laughed when the negotiation came to an end in a satisfied manner. Sungyoon could only laugh with her.
The little fight had been started because they were looking out for each other. When that fight came to an end, Tim and Emily started to divide Mrs. Ross’ Devices and Gems. Fortunately, they were capable of activating all the Gems they acquired.
Tim swung his new single-edged ax. It was a White rank weapon. This weapon was probably the one that had created the wounds on the Golem, which had deflected Sungyoon’s halberd with impunity. One needed at least a B&W weapon to pierce through the Golem’s defense.
When he took a careful look, it seemed Mrs. Ross’s Gems were heavily geared towards close-ranged fighting and healing.
‘This is why Mr. Tim and Ms. Emily’s Gems are specialized in those directions too.’
He guessed it was their mother's battle style to fight in the frontline. She fought up close while she healed herself.
The three of them looked at the body of Mrs. Ross. Then, Sungyoon bent down on one knee and placed his hand on the corpse. Slightly lowering his head, he then activated his Gem.
The corpse disappeared.
“Shall we go now?”
Complicated emotions appeared in Tim’s eyes as he stared at the storage Gem. However, they only lasted for a brief moment.
They had made many discoveries and gained much in this strange place. The party once again moved to escape this place.Previous Chapter Next Chapter