The event had developed so suddenly and resulted in such an outcome that nobody could react properly. Their mouths just opened and closed as if they were fishes. Tim and Emily, who knew Sungyoon’s true skills, broke out of their stupor first.
“O... of course!”
Tim still felt shell shocked, but there was conviction in his voice. Louis had drawn his weapon first, but Sungyoon had neutralized his attacker without harming him. It was well under the definition of self-defense.
Everyone slowly started to break out of their shocked state. However, they became gloomy at the reality smacking them in their faces.
Even if he had a bad personality, Louis was one of them. Cohen had enough of a character to be worried about his comrade. He subconsciously moved to check up on Louis.
“Please do not come any closer.”
Sungyoon spoke as he moved the blade of the halberd.
When the sharp blade of the halberd got closer to his neck, Louis let out a high-pitched scream.
“What are you doing…!”
Cohen was about to protest, but he soon shut his mouth. To be precise, he realized that he had no right to raise his voice in this situation when he was Louis’ comrade.
He bit his lips, and his eyes kept shifting as his brain operated at full capacity. However, no solutions came to his mind. Louis had created too big of a problem. It was absolutely forbidden to activate a Gem in Armstrong, and doubly so when it came to ambushing someone.
His hand had reached his head without him realizing it. He had a headache.
He stared daggers at Louis, who remained pinned underneath Sungoon’s foot. He wondered if his comrade was of sound mind. In the end, the facts remained the same. A Connector contracted to their company had tried to attack another connector inside the company building.
He had no choice but to lower his head. Up until a moment ago, Cohen had ignored this person, yet he now had to do this. It was very humiliating.
On the other hand, he also realized he had to re-evaluate Sungyoon.
‘He stopped the surprise attack.’
No one could have expected Louis' unpredictable actions, yet this man had nonchalantly defeated Louis, that too with overwhelming force.
In the company's eyes, Louis was a prospect on par with the Ross siblings. He had easily graduated from the Beginner’s Labyrinth, and he clearly showed his worth in labyrinth raids hosted by the company. He wasn’t someone that could be subdued by a common 1st Gen.
However, the proof was in the pudding. Louis had ambushed the 1st Gen, yet he lost without being able to do anything.
Cohen looked at the halberd and the battle-ax gripped in Sungyoon’s hands. At a glance, one could tell the blades were sharp and sturdy, and the shafts were smooth and well made. There was no way these were low-rank weapons.
‘At the very least, they have to be at the Yellow rank.’
It meant this man was different from the normal 1st Gens who could barely handle the lower rank Rainbow Gems.
‘Shit! He’s basically someone that won the lottery!’
It really was rare, but sometimes 1st Gens possessing abilities unbefitting a 1st Gen existed. Cohen realized he was able to get a small glimpse of Sungyoon’s true skills.
‘Moreover, his Gem activation speed...’
No one here could have stopped Louis’ ambush, not even him. They couldn’t do it because they couldn’t activate their Gems in time.
However, Sungyoon had neutralized Louis too easily. He summoned and unsummoned multiple Gems. It was like watching an acrobat perform stunts. The man didn’t even concentrate when deploying his magical energy, and his actions were without delays. He literally summoned his weapons in a blink of an eye, and Cohen could only let out a cold sweat when he had seen it all.
Did he predict Louis’ attack? Did he activate his Gems beforehand? Cohen shook his head from side to side. The 1st Gen would have to know how and when Louis would attack. He would also have to supply the Gems with magical energy beforehand so that he could summon them in the order he needed. Was that plausible?
Unless he was Laplace’s demon, he couldn’t perfectly predict what would've happened like that. It was more plausible to think that the man possessed the ability to activate his Gems at blinding speed.
‘That is also hard to believe, but...’
If his Gem activation speed was really that fast...
‘It seems the Ross siblings were right.’
He had made a big mistake.
His mind went blank when he reached this point in his thoughts. However, he was the most senior employee in this building, and it was his responsibility to salvage the situation.
“First, I would like to apologize for the fact that one of our employees attacked you. I’m sorry.”
Cohen gave a courteous apology, trying his best to be humble. The disrespectful look in his eyes was nowhere to be seen, and he didn’t hesitate in giving an apology. Everyone was surprised by this. Even Sungyoon was inwardly a bit impressed.
‘He knows what needs to be done, and takes action.’
He had seen many men in this world who had refused to humble themselves, even though they were in a terrible situation. Their pride wouldn’t allow it, and it inevitably led to worse results for them. Cohen wasn’t like that. He didn’t like Sungyoon. It was more apt to say he hated Sungyoon, yet he had lowered himself in front of him. He knew how to minimize the damage in a bad situation.
‘I’d rather deal with someone like him.’
Cohen was capable of making decisions in a rational manner. Well, everyone was capable of doing that, but an unusually small number of people actually went through with making rational decisions. A prime example of this was Louis, who was pinned underneath Sungyoon’s foot. He was incapable of acting in such a manner.
“He activated his Gems in Armstrong, and then he attacked me with them. Do you agree?”
“… I agree.”
“You do realize that Armstrong gives a lot of leeway under the law of self-defense, right?”
‘We really messed with the wrong guy!’
Cohen was breaking out in cold sweat.
If anyone else had experienced what Sungyoon had gone through, the person would be extremely angry and emotional. Usually, they would lash out in violence, or their heightened state of emotion would give Cohen a small advantage. Then he could somehow dig at the small advantage until the damage was minimized.
However, Sungyoon showed no signs of doing anything rash. He remained calm, collected, and cold. His appearance didn’t look like that of someone whose life was threatened not too long ago.
“… However, you were able to subdue this idiot. I agree Louis was at fault, but he is no longer a threat. I would like to believe you wouldn’t cause him any further harm.”
“You have a good point, but…!”
Sungyoon’s foot came down on Louis’ arm.
“What the hell…!”
Cohen yelled out in surprise. However, he shut his mouth soon. The Device equipped on Louis’ arm had Gems that were slowly losing their light.
Louis had tried to activate his Gems once again.
‘That stupid bastard!’
Cohen assessed the situation, and he was almost having a hard time breathing. He had become too frustrated. This dumb bastard had tried to secretly act in order to escape from Sungyoon.
“If he continues to act this way, I’ll have no choice but to take a more forceful action. Please warn him so that it doesn’t develop into something unfortunate.”
“Hmmph! Do you think I’ll believe your bluff!”
It seemed as time passed, Louis regained his ugly personality. He shouted in a strident manner.
“You don’t have the balls to kill a single ant!”
Even a mutt would bark inside its own house. A sharp ax blade and a spear blade was right next to his neck, yet Louis remained bold. However, he shut his mouth when Sungyoon’s cold gaze landed on him. He had gotten in arguments with others before, and even took part in fistfights, but he had never seen someone look at him like this.
“I have no reason to kill an ant. However, I did kill a talking monkey before.”
Louis shut his mouth in an instant. Talking monkey, Louis wasn’t dense enough to miss what Sungyoon was alluding to.
“Y... you are bluffing…”
He forced his mouth open, yet his voice shook a little bit. While they walked on the edge of life and death, their job was to kill monsters. Killing other humans was an entirely different proposition.
“I’m not bluffing. Some monkey took issue with a trivial matter. He held a grudge and followed me in my labyrinth. Of course, I almost died too, but...”
Louis became speechless at Sungyoon’s extremely calm attitude.
Cohen had an inkling as to what Sungyoon was talking about. He had recently heard in the news that a Connector had tried to ambush another Connector in a labyrinth. The attacker had died in the attempt.
‘Was he the one?’
However, he couldn’t be sure. This man could have heard the same rumor, and he might be bluffing.
But it didn’t matter if his words were the truth or not. It didn’t change what Cohen had to do.
‘They aren’t showing any signs of helping me out.’
He glanced at the Ross siblings. They weren’t doing anything yet. Cohen would consider himself fortunate if the Ross siblings didn't take Sungyoon’s side.
“... Louis. Can you just shut up and do nothing for now?”
He stopped his comrade from making things worse. If Louis made the wrong move again, Sungyoon might kill him. Then they would really be at the point of no return.
Cohen worried Louis would object, but he obediently listened to his words. It seemed he had become afraid of Sungyoon.
“Let me say this again. I would like to apologize.”
His voice became warier than before.
“I’m sorry for asking this of you. Could you forget everything that happened between us?”
“What did you just say?”
Tim’s hackles rose.
“Louis attacked a person, yet you want us to just forget about it?”
Tim really hated Louis, and the man had attacked Sungyoon, whom he respected. It couldn't be helped. Tim exploded in anger.
However, Cohen didn’t even look toward Tim. His gaze remained on Sungyoon.
“We’ll give you adequate compensation. If you want something, just say it. Also, Louis isn't a bad guy. He just has a bad temper. In truth, he was not attacking you, but just trying to scare you.”
“That is true.”
Although the skill gap between the two of them was large, Sungyoon wouldn’t have been able to easily subdue Louis if the latter had used his full power. He knew Louis had been holding back.
When Sungyoon conceded that point, Cohen inwardly let out a sigh of relief. At the same time, he felt a shock to his system.
The sigh of relief came because Sungyoon had acknowledged that there was no killing intent behind Louis’ attack. The shock appeared because...
‘He knew. He knows that Louis had attacked with reduced strength.’
It meant Sungyoon was skilled enough to notice that. It seemed they really had made an error in judgment when it came to Sungyoon. Cohen felt his mistake to the bone.
“Do you have enough authority to grant me what I want?”
“Not really, but this is a big incident. Even if you overshoot in your request, I can make it happen.”
This was beyond rectifying Louis’ sin. Their company's image was on the line. He knew the company would go through great lengths to bury this incident.
Sungyoon pointed towards the Ross siblings.
“I want you to make sure no negative consequences occur from them breaking their contract.”
“… is that all you want?”
It was unexpectedly a small request. However, Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“You can discuss the rest with my company’s president.”
Sungyoon really had no idea what to ask for. So he decided to rely on Jimin.
Cohen frowned at the idea that someone else outside this group would learn about this incident. But in the end, he let out a sigh as he nodded. The one holding the handle of the knife wasn’t him but Sungyoon. He also thought the agreement would be a bit more binding if the contract was made at the company level. Of course, he could pass on the role of negotiator to someone else, so there was a bit of selfishness in his thoughts too.
“… Understood. Will you let go of Louis now?”
However, Sungyoon just stroked his chin and didn’t let Louis go.
“Mmm. How can I trust you guys will keep your word?”
“You don’t have to worry about that.”
Tim’s face had been red with anger as he was watching what happened. However, he grasped this opportunity to step forward and took out a video camera from his bag.
“I had brought it to record the scenery on the moon, but it can be repurposed for other uses.”
Sungyoon nodded. But Cohen let out a sigh as he wiped the frown off his face.
“So, you’ll have proof now. May you let go of Louis now?”
However, Sungyoon didn’t listen to Cohen’s words once again.
“First, let Mr. Tim outside. He can film all of this from there.”
“… you are very cautious.”
“I experienced something very bitter when I failed in life.”
While Sungyoon and Cohen conversed, Tim followed Sungyoon’s directions. He went outside the building and pointed the camera inward. Only then did Sungyoon let go of Louis.
Louis quickly moved to the side of the Connectors of his company. It seemed he had regained his confidence after being back amongst his comrades. He turned a death glare at Sungyoon. However, Sungyoon didn’t even bother looking back at him.
Sungyoon walked up to Emily’s side. When he received her permission, he put the possessions of the Ross siblings into his storage Gem. Everyone once again became shocked at his Gem activation speed.
He paid no attention to them and walked toward the entrance of the building with Emily. The company employees did not dare to block their way.
“Let us meet again in better circumstances.”
After he spoke those words, Sungyoon exited.
Emily had been about to follow Sungyoon, but hesitation appeared on her face.
Did she perhaps change her mind? Hope appeared in the eyes of the company employees.
However, the words that came out of her mouth shocked everyone, especially Cohen.
“You were a close comrade of my mother, Mr. Cohen. I think it is right to tell you this.”
Her eyes were clear as she spoke.
“We found our mother’s corpse.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter