Chapter 14

After the receptionist sent Sungyoon on his way, she called the next number and then continued to do her work. She didn’t know how much time had passed, when she found that there was no one waiting in the queue. The receptionist glanced at her watch. As expected, this part of the day was always slow. The receptionist stretched.

“Over there! Look over there!”

Her colleague spoke out next to her. She turned to look. She saw her colleague with a slight interest on her face.

“You remember that gloomy guy that was really handsome?”

“Ah! Yeah.”

The man had looked gloomy yet really handsome. She immediately recognized whom her colleague was referring to.

“You became surprised when you looked up his file. What did you see? From what I overheard, he is just a 1st Gen Connector.”

Not all Connectors were the same. Normal people might not know this, but it was not much for her, who worked at the Office of Business and Administration for the Moon’s Labyrinth. She dealt with Connectors every day in her work, so she wasn’t surprised by a mere 1st Gen Connector.

“I wasn’t surprised because of him. I was surprised when I saw who he was scheduled to meet.”

“Who?”

“Head of the Support Division.”

“What!”

The colleague was so surprised that she let out a shout as she stood up. It was almost a scream. The receptionist turned back to her desk, acting as if she was busy doing her work. Her co-worker had made such a loud noise that everyone had turned towards them. She glanced at her co-worker. Her face had turned red, and her head was lowered.

When everyone’s gazes left them, her co-worker finally sat back into her seat.

“Girl! How can you let me drown like that by myself!”

She had acted as if she had nothing to do with her co-worker. Her co-worker looked at her with sharp eyes. Of course, she had some words to say in her own defense.

“Why did you have to yell so loud? You made me embarrassed too.”

The two of them lowered their voices as they whispered and bickered with each other.

“Whatever. It’s fine.”

In the end, her co-worker backed off first.

“So why would the head of the Support Division want to meet a 1st Gen Connector?”

Her co-worker asked the obvious question.

Within the department, power wasn’t divided equally among each division. The power and clout depended on how important one’s work was to the department. In some ways, the ‘Support Division’ did the most important work in the Office of Business and Administration for the Moon’s Labyrinth. They managed and supported the Connectors. If the power structure was like a pyramid, the Support Division would be at the top.

There was no reason why the head of the Support Division would meet with a newly-awakened 1st Gen Connector.

“Is he trying to supervise that Connector? That is one of the original duties tasked to the ‘Support Division’. Each ‘Division’ has its unique contribution to the department. That is why the chief directly manages several Connectors.”

“However, those people are the best Connectors our country has to offer. They are on a different level. But this man is just a 1st Gen Connector.”

“Maybe he possesses a unique characteristic, or there is a special circumstance.”

The reception ended the conversation there.

“It is none of our business.”

“I guess so. You are right.”

Her co-worker just let go of the subject. In the first place, she had started the conversation because it was a minor curiosity. It didn’t matter why the head of the Support Division was meeting with that man. It was none of their business.

The two of them switched topics. They talked about miscellaneous topics until the next customer came.

* * *

When his name was called, Sungyoon stood up. A man walked into the waiting room.

“Are you Mr. Woo Sungyoon?”

“Yes. I am Woo Sungyoon.”

“It is nice to meet you. My name is Jun Insoo.”

Sungyoon shook the offered hand and observed the man named Jun Insoo.

The very first thing he noticed was the bald patch on top of his head. He looked to be in his 60s, but in many cases, balding men looked older than they actually were. He might be much younger. Aside from his balding head, there were no distinguishing features. He wore a nicely ironed suit. One could only guess from his appearance that he had a clean and meticulous personality.

“I’m sorry for making you wait. I have to give you some basic information, and we have to register you. Please follow me.”

Insoo gave a slight bow.

“I understand.”

“Thank you.”

Insoo took the lead, and Sungyoon followed him.

The two arrived at a room that wasn’t too far away from the waiting room. The room was quite large, but it had been divided into many small cubicles. There were people in these cubicles already, and Sungyoon could hear muted conversations coming from the cubicles.

“Please come this way.”

Insoo led Sungyoon to his cubicle. There was a round glass table, a computer, and two chairs. 

Insoo offered a chair to Sungyoon, and then he sat on the other side of Sungyoon.

“I’ll introduce myself once again. My name is Jun Insoo. I am the chief of the Support Division within the Office of Business and Administration for the Moon’s Labyrinth.”

As he spoke, he pushed his name card towards Sungyoon. Sungyoon was surprised. He never expected a head of a division to talk to him. He had many questions he wanted to ask. Why had the head of a department come out to greet him? Did he meet with all the Connectors like this? However, Sungyoon didn't give voice to any of those questions. 

It wasn’t important at all.

The two of them talked in a brisk manner for a short amount of time. Insoo would ask a question, and Sungyoon would give an answer. Insoo recorded the information into his computer.

It didn’t take long, and was over in 10 minutes.

“Thank you.”

After entering the last piece of information, Insoo spoke to Sungyoon.

“Are we done?”

“Yes, it is done. In truth, the registration process doesn’t take a long time. However, the explanation that comes afterward is time-consuming.”

Insoo logged out of his computer.

“The government supervises the Connectors, but businesses are the ones that actually hire the Connectors. We just help a little bit in the process as the middleman.”

Insoo took out a piece of paper from his briefcase. 

“Currently, this is the list of businesses looking for Connectors. To be precise, they are looking for 1st Gen Connectors. I’m sorry, but you’ve probably never heard of these companies. All the big companies are hiring 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen Connectors. Moreover, 4th Gen Connectors are slowly starting to appear now. In the eyes of the big businesses, a 1st Gen Connector won’t bring them much profit. I would like to recommend these companies to you...”

“Wait a moment.”

Insoo was about to take several more papers out of his briefcase, but Sungyoon stopped him.

“Are you recommending companies that are gathering ‘Moonstones’?”

“Yes, I am.”

“... I never said I’ll be going to the Moon. Do all Connectors have to go into the labyrinths?”

Insoo blinked several times. Then he clapped his hands as if he understood what was going on.

“I see. I haven’t given you the explanation yet. It has been a while since I’ve dealt with a new Connector…”

Insoo was quick to address Sungyoon’s dissatisfaction.

“From what I just heard from you, you are hesitant to go into the Moon’s Labyrinth. Is it because it is dangerous?”

Sungyoon nodded.

When he first heard that he was a Connector, he first thought about being able to pay off his debts. However, he also knew that it was very dangerous to go into the Moon’s Labyrinth. From what he knew, there was a constant stream of casualties that occurred within the Moon’s Labyrinth. Sungyoon had promised that he would dedicate his life to his daughter, but that didn’t mean he wanted to die. He just had a near-death experience or what he thought was a near-death experience.... With that in mind, he didn’t want to carelessly talk about death right now. 

‘If my death is needed for Shinhae, I’ll do it. It can’t be helped.’

However, he wanted to avoid dying for any other reason.

“I understand. Life is important to everyone.”

Insoo took out his cellphone from his pocket then he looked at the time.

“Mmm. I still have a lot of time before I get off work.”

Insoo mumbled to himself with a troubled voice. He looked at Sungyoon. 

“Do you have any other plans tomorrow?”

“… not really.”

Sungyoon was a laborer. He lived a hand to mouth existence. If needed, he could make himself available for one or two days. Since this was about his body, he was willing to make himself available for an extended amount of time. Of course, the side effect was that he would lose out on money that would go towards his living expenses and debt.

“Then can you make some time for me today at night?”

“I don’t mind at all.”

He had come far to visit Sejong city. He had planned on immediately leaving for Seoul after he finished his registration. He was going to continue his job as a laborer. However, Insoo was someone that was in charge of this division. Sungyoon would make himself available for a day as his future was involved in this matter.

“I’ll contact you after I get off work. If you have nowhere else to go, you can use the waiting room.”

“Understood.”

After their conversation ended, the two of them got up.

* * *

After parting with Sungyoon, Insoo walked down the corridor. He continued to think about Sungyoon. Sungyoon was a newly-awakened fledgling Connector. Normally, he wouldn’t even pay attention to such a man. However, Insoo needed Sungyoon more than anyone else.

‘His debts are in the millions.’

He was a high ranking civil servant. It was a thankless job, but he had a pretty high salary. Still, it made Insoo blanch when he saw how much Sungyoon owed. Sungyoon had failed in his business, and he was doing hard labor to make money little by little. He lived day to day, and there was no way Sungyoon could pay off his debt with such work.

‘Should I consider myself to be fortunate or unfortunate?’

Insoo tapped his fingers on his forehead. Sungyoon was someone that she might want. He couldn’t believe the timing. He didn’t know if his luck was good or bad. The only sure thing in all of this was the fact that he had more work to do now.

Beep!

Insoo dialed a number on his phone. The phone started ringing, and someone picked up on the other side.

[Yes.]

It was the voice of a beautiful woman. However, her voice was brusque and cold.

“It is Insoo ahjussi.”

[Yes, ahjussi. What is it?]

Her robotic voice showed traces of emotion. It was the affection for a close friend.

As expected, he couldn’t turn down a request from this child. Insoo had this thought as he revealed the reason behind the call.

"I found one. He fits your specifications."

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