Chapter 134

“You want to hear about my labyrinth runs?”

“Yes. I looked into you a little bit. You're pretty well known around here.”

“Is that so?”

Sungyoon was a bit surprised. He had never expected his name to have gained some fame around here. Soon, a thought crossed his mind.

“Is this about me standing in front of the Great Labyrinth and staring at it as if I wanted to kill it?”

He remembered Chelsea mentioning his actions gaining some notoriety in the rumor mill. And when he asked that, Hyunwoo started laughing like a madman.

“Ah-hahahahaha! That was you?”

He slapped the desk as he let out a belly laugh. The two women sitting beside him looked at Sungyoon with round eyes. However, Sungyoon didn’t feel bad about it. His attention was elsewhere currently.

‘That table looks expensive. What would happen if he broke it?’

If Hyunwoo could know what Sungyoon was thinking right now, he would have fallen over laughing.

“Although I didn’t see it for myself, I did hear a weirdo like that was out there. But I never expected it to be the Connector signed to Jimin’s company. Man, the world is quite small. Though, why did you do that?”

“… I just wanted to strengthen my resolve by looking at my goal.”

“The action itself is funny, but your mental attitude is admirable.”

He wiped away the tears that leaked from his eyes due to laughing for a long time.

“You told me something very interesting about yourself. But, I’m not talking about that. Didn’t you clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth pretty quickly as a 1st Gen? Moreover, you encountered a high rank monster because high rank Connectors failed to clean up the Beginner’s Labyrinth. You also entered into the sealed section. And, I don’t have to remind you about the incident with Soobin.”

Sungyoon never regarded his experiences as spectacular, but when someone else repeated his accomplishments, he realized how absurd they were. He felt it to the bone.

“I’m quite interested in your story. You can keep it simple, but can you tell me about it?”

Hyunwoo was one of the greatest Connectors, and he was a very close friend of Jimin's father. He also was much older than Sungyoon, so Sungyoon felt he had no choice.

Moreover, it wasn’t as if he had much to hide.

So he slowly unpacked his story.

After hearing the entirety of it, Hyunwoo downed another cup of alcohol.

“Jeez. I thought I was a big deal, but you are amazing too.”

Hyunwoo praised Sungyoon.

“I’m only a 1st Gen. I cannot be compared to you, Mr. Hyunwoo.”

“No. No. You are an amazing prospect in your own right. In fact, your accomplishments shine brighter because you are a 1st Gen. But, what’s wrong with being a 1st Gen! The current climate where 1st Gens are ignored by other connectors is strange in itself! They wouldn’t have been born if it weren’t for the existence of 1st Gens!”

Hyunwoo sounded like he was worked up. He shouted as he swung his fists in the air. The women beside him let out small screams as they tried to move away from him. However, the man didn't pay attention to them and continued to speak.

“That is why you shouldn’t feel small in front of them!”

“… Understood.”

Hyunwoo had gotten a bit too excited, but he was showing anger with Sungyoon in mind. That was why Sungyoon decided to agree with him for now.

“Yes, yes. Anyway, do you have anything planned tomorrow?”

“I plan on heading toward my labyrinth.”

What else would a Connector do up here? 

However, that wasn’t the answer Hyunwoo was looking for.

“That’s a given. I’m talking about plans with your party members. Do you have any special plans?”

“I have nothing planned for the near future.”

“Then, would you like to enter my Personal Labyrinth with me?”

“Mr. Hyunwoo’s Labyrinth?”

Sungyoon became a bit surprised.

“Yes. It’ll be a very good experience for you. That is why I would like to take you. Of course, I wouldn’t be taking you if you weren't qualified. I think you’ll be fine. But know this, my labyrinth is one of the most difficult Personal Labyrinths found up to this point.”

Sungyoon was getting an unexpected opportunity. He’d be able to experience one of the highest-ranked Personal Labyrinths. It would greatly help him on his road to raiding the Great Labyrinth. And from what Hyunwoo had said, he would be accompanying Sungyoon into his labyrinth. This meant Sungyoon would have to worry less about his safety.

Still, the Ross siblings would be coming soon even if they weren’t arriving in a couple weeks.

“I’m very thankful for the offer, but my comrades will be coming to the Moon soon. I have to enter the labyrinth with them.”

“Can’t you move your appointment to a later date? It is as simple as sending one transmission to Earth.”

However, Hyunwoo was quick on the uptake.

“You didn’t install the communication equipment in your Moon Surface Vehicle.”

“… the vehicle itself is an old model, and the communication costs are too expensive.”

“I should have expected it. You just graduated from being a beginner Connector. Of course, this would strain your finances. The leaders of each country on Earth and Armstrong city are hell-bent on taking all our money.”

Hyunwoo grumbled. He was deep in thought for a brief moment.

“Well, I can send a transmission in your stead. When will your comrades arrive?”

“In around two weeks.”

“That’d be enough. My labyrinth is only five hours away from Armstrong. Even if we leave tomorrow, at most, it'd take us a day to get there and another day to come back. If we schedule a day where we take a break, we can do this in around 10 days.”

The labyrinth was only 5 hours away. On average, a Connector needed to drive eight days and nights straight to reach most labyrinths. The distance between Sungyoon's labyrinth and Armstrong needed a journey five days long. It couldn't even be compared to Hyunwoo's.

‘If that’s true...’

He could return to Armstrong before the Ross siblings' arrival. And accepting the offer would allow him to experience something much more invaluable than progressing in his labyrinth. Sungyoon firmed his resolve.

“Then let me take the liberty of asking this of you.”

“Great. That’s the response I want.”

Hyunwoo looked satisfied as he nodded.

“However, we can do all that starting tomorrow. Tonight, let’s enjoy ourselves. What are you doing? I told you to order the food that you want to eat.”

As he said that, he called over a server for another bottle of liquor. While the two of them had been conversing, the women had been quiet and unobtrusive, but now they once again started to act charming toward the men.

It meant Sungyoon would have to suffer again. However, he had agreed to go to Hyunwoo’s labyrinth, so he couldn't easily turn down his hospitality. 

He treated this as one of the business meetings from his past and pushed down on his distaste as he went along with Hyunwoo.

***

The drink session lasted a long time. It was quite late, so he tried to excuse himself. 

"I’m tired.

"I would like to be at peak condition when we enter into the labyrinth"

After giving all kinds of excuses, Sungyoon was barely able to avoid sleeping with the women. Hyunwoo looked at him with speculative eyes as if wondering did Sungyoon swing for the other side. However, that was none of his business.

He took the two women into his suite, and Sungyoon went into his own suite rented by the man.

‘This is amazing.’

Sungyoon was having a hard time counting the number of rooms in this suite. With one look out the window, he could take in all of Armstrong city.

The dome covering the city had always looked far away. Its ceiling looked very close from here. He wondered how much would it cost to sleep in this room for one night.

‘Let’s not overthink this and go to sleep.’

He would have to exert himself a lot starting the next day. So he laid down on the unnecessarily large bed and closed his eyes.

***

Hyunwoo’s labyrinth was really five hours away. No, it would only take five hours if one took their time, and the distance was shorter than he was led to believe.

Sungyoon exited his Moon Surface Vehicle. He saw Hyunwoo’s Moon Surface Vehicle parked in front of him. It was large and fancy looking, and at a glance, one could tell it was much better than Sungyoon’s vehicle.

“Shall we go in?”

Hyunwoo tapped Sungyoon’s shoulder once, and then, took the lead. Sungyoon followed him.

The entrance to Hyunwoo’s Personal labyrinth was located on a shallow hill. Same as all the entrances to labyrinths, it looked like an entrance to hell, as if trying to tempt victims into its maw.

“I’ll give you this warning beforehand. My labyrinth does not have any beast type monsters like the Mad Dog and Fang Boar.”

“What?”

Even if it was a high rank labyrinth, Sungyoon had expected the first floor to be populated by these monsters. Therefore, he became surprised.

“Normal monsters migrate towards the density of magical energy they are suited for. Even if monsters get into territorial fights, they do not travel toward regions with less dense magical energy when given the choice. This is why the strongest monsters all gather at the bottom floor, where the magical energy is the densest. However, my labyrinth is too high in rank. The competition between the monsters is so fierce that even the high rank monsters have been pushed out towards the entrance. And this basically caused all the low rank monsters to go extinct.”

Sungyoon gulped. It seemed this labyrinth was more dangerous than he had expected. Moreover, something else surprised him.

He knew it as soon as he stepped into the labyrinth.

‘Mana Stream!’

He could feel the magical energy churn in a turbulent manner.

“Isn’t it Mana Stream time for this labyrinth?”

“Yup.”

He had been serious in his own way when asking the question, but Hyunwoo responded in a flippant manner.

“You should be fine. You are past the point where your body would have been ripped apart by the Mana Stream. Also, aren’t you capable of handling a Gold Gem if you have the corresponding Device?”

“Yes.”

Previously, during the period of Mana Stream, he had encountered a Bigfoot and had almost died. So, his instinct told him to step out of the Mana Stream.

Above all else, this was such a high rank labyrinth that beast type monsters couldn’t survive. That was why his desire to leave got stronger.

It seemed Hyunwoo could sense his thought process. He patted him on the back.

“Don’t be too afraid. Aren’t you aiming for the Great Labyrinth? You probably know this, but the Mana Stream is present all year round in the Great Labyrinth. You should experience this.”

“… you have a point.”

Sungyoon firmed his resolve once again.

Seeing this, Hyunwoo nodded as he summoned his equipment.

‘Amazing.’

Sungyoon was impressed when he saw Hyunwoo’s gear.

A white armor covered his body, not even a single blemish present on it. The man also carried a red Flamberge that had an undulating blade. His shield looked as if five plates had been beaten together to create a single layer. None of Sung Hyunwoo’s gear looked weak.

Hyunwoo went into the labyrinth, and Sungyoon quickly summoned his equipment and also entered.

Inside the labyrinth, he felt the extremely turbulent flow of the Mana Stream. He frowned when he remembered what had happened in the past.

“Heh. They already started.”

Hyunwoo mumbled to himself. Booming noises rang out as Sungyoon heard the cries of monsters. He looked toward the source.

‘Bigfoot!’

It was the monster he seemed to have an ill-fated relationship with. He was greeted by it on the 1st floor.

He subconsciously took a step backward. The monster called Bigfoot had caused a significant amount of trauma to him. 

However, the current situation was a bit odd. The Bigfoot was fighting something else.

The fact that it was fighting wasn’t odd. He had seen monsters fight each other.

The problem was that the Bigfoot, which had given him nightmares twice, was taking a beating in a one-sided manner.

Ggoo-uhhhhhhhh!

Blood ran down the Bigfoot's wrinkled face, and it cried out in rage.

However, the only answer it received was a boulder-like fist to the face.

Puh-uhk!

Its head whipped to the side, and its legs turned wobbly.

However, it didn’t fall. It showed its tenaciousness as it endured the attack. But its struggle was in vain.

Tuh-uhp!

A large hand grabbed the Bigfoot’s head. Then, the owner of the hand used its other hand to grab the neck and immediately exerted strength.

Kwah-doo-doohk!

A horrifying sound emanated from the Bigfoot’s neck.

Kwah-jeek!

Blood fountained into the air as the head was popped off. One could see the Bigfoot's vertebrae hanging below its head. Sungyoon had slaughtered many monsters up until now, but his eyes still furrowed at the gruesome sight.

Koo-uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The monster that had easily killed the Bigfoot let out a roar. It celebrated its victory.

“It is an Ogre.”

Hyunwoo explained.

‘Ogre...’

The monster was around 2.5 m tall, and its muscles were massive. A horn protruded from its head, adding to its savage appearance.

It celebrated its victory for a long time, but then it suddenly came to a stop. Its head slowly swiveled to the side in a terrifying manner. 

Its eyes headed towards Sungyoon and Hyunwoo.

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