Chapter 141

Hyunwoo drank again with a beautiful woman in each arm. However, this time there was no one besides Sungyoon.

They had gotten closer to each other in the past two weeks, so he didn’t feel awkward turning down Hyunwoo’s attempt at sticking women next to him. 

Of course, this only deepened Hyunwoo’s suspicion that Sungyoon swung for the other side.

“So, how was it? What did you think about fighting against the high rank monsters?”

Hyunwoo asked the question when he lost count on how many cups of alcohol he drank. Sungyoon had been quietly sipping his drink as he was mostly focused on eating the side dishes. He didn’t want to think about the price tag on the alcohol. When he heard the question, Sungyoon looked back at the monster hunt that he had experienced not too long ago.

“It was very hard.”

As expected of Hyunwoo’s labyrinth, it had lived up to its name of being the highest ranked labyrinth. If Hyunwoo wasn’t looking over him, he wouldn’t have been able to get out alive even if he had 100 lives.

“At the same time, I gained much from the experience.”

He learned about the various characteristics of high rank monsters, and he was able to engrave their battle style into his head. He also learned how to use his Gems more smoothly and effectively.

“That makes it all worth it for me. Still, you should never let your guard down. The same types of monsters populate the Great Labyrinth, but they are much stronger.”

“Understood.”

Sungyoon deeply engraved Hyunwoo’s advice into his heart.

“Ah. How would you like to divvy up the moonstones I’m carrying?”

All the moonstone acquired within Hyunwoo’s Personal Labyrinth was stored within Sungyoon’s storage Gem.

As if to prove that they had fought against high ranked monsters, all the moonstones they acquired were large in size.

If Sungyoon didn’t have his storage Gem, he would have had to expend a massive amount of energy to transport the moonstones.

The size and quantity were that large. When converted, the amount of money they’ll receive would be massive.

However, Hyunwoo sounded blase about it.

“You can keep them.”

“What? No. I cannot take such a large amount of money for myself. Above all else, ¾ of the moonstones were dropped from the monsters you killed.”

At Sugnyoon’s objection, Hyunwoo just downed another cup of alcohol down his throat. Then he spoke the truth.

“I’ll be honest. Moonstones are like pocket change to me. I find the process of converting moonstones into money to be annoying.”

“….”

He was speechless. From his estimates, Sungyoon possessed moonstones worth several million dollars at the very least.

This was a conservative estimate.

However, such a figure was considered pocket change in front of this man.

Sungyoon was in front of one of the highest ranked Connectors, and he once again confirmed that Hyunwoo possessed a massive amount of wealth.

“You can have it. If you don’t need it, you can throw it away.”

“… Then I’ll receive it with thanks.”

Sungyoon decided to accept his favor. To be precise, he decided to accept Hyunwoo’s laziness.

“Good, good. That’s the way it should be. You shouldn’t turn down pocket money given to you by an old man.”

Hyunwoo let out a magnanimous laugh. He occasionally brought up his status as an old man, and Sungyoon still had no idea how to respond to such words.

Afterward, the drinking continued. Hyunwoo continued to drink alcohol like a fish. Sungyoon tried not to break the mood, so he continued to take little sips of alcohol.

Hyunwoo spoke most of the time. Sungyoon listened, and he replied at the right moments. He basically tried to humor Hyunwoo.

Time passed like that.

“I’m sorry, but I’ll have to leave now.”

Sungyoon spoke.

When he looked at his watch, he realized it was very late. The hands of the clock had already done a full revolution, and it was already a new day. He was supposed to meet the Ross siblings today.

He had to go into a labyrinth again with them, so he wanted to be in good physical and mental condition.

Sungyoon expected Hyunwoo to complain, but Hyunwoo unexpectedly let him go without a fuss.

“Is it that late? Yes, you should go. You suffered a lot trying to humor this old man.”

“No. The last couple of days have been very helpful. Thank you very much.”

Sungyoon gave a bow towards him.

“I’m glad you think that. I reserved a room for you upstairs, so you should get a good night’s rest. I want you to continue to work hard raiding labyrinths once again.”

He would have to spend another night in the enormous suite, so he felt a bit uncomfortable about it. Still, he was unable to turn down Hyunwoo’s gesture of goodwill. Sungyoon got up and he tried to leave the drinking party.

“Wait a moment!”

At that moment, Hyunwoo stopped Sungyoon from leaving. He took out something from his storage Gem.

“Take this.”

Hyunwoo tossed it towards him. Sungyoon’s body moved before his mind could formulate a thought. He snatched the item out of the air.

“This is….”

Even in the ambient light of a bar, the item shone brightly as if it wanted to let its presence be known. 

Sungyoon blinked. It was a small wedge-shaped Gem letting out a gold light.

“Isn’t this a Gold Gem?”

It was the same rank as the highest rank Gem possessed by Sungyoon.

The Gold Gem had saved his life many times before, so it held a high status inside his heart. 

“You can have it.”

Hyunwoo spoke those words as if it was a throwaway comment. However, the meaning behind those four words wasn’t light at all.

“What?”

Of course, Sungyoon sounded baffled as he asked back.

“You should think of it as a present for spending time with this old man.”

Hyunwoo was too nonchalant in his words that Sungyoon wondered if he had misjudged the value of a Gold Gem. However, it lasted only a moment. He knew that wasn’t true.

“This present is too much. I already received all the moonstones. I cannot take this too.”

Sungyoon was firm in rejecting the gift. He placed it back on top of the table. The women on either side of Hyunwoo looked on with interest in their eyes.

“This is why it is so hard to give a gift to someone that is rigid like you.”

Hyunwoo griped.

“Just take it. The Gold Gems are in an awkward spot where they can’t even crack my lineup of backup Gems. I have no use for it, so I would rather you use it. If you really feel uncomfortable taking this gift, you can think of it as a rental. I don’t care either way.”

“… Do you perhaps want something from me?”

He was being too nice in a one-sided manner. It was starting to make Sungyoon suspicious about Hyunwoo. 

In the first place, Sungyoon had a hard time trusting others, yet he was following around Hyunwoo without much of a fuss. This was out of character for him.

However, there were a few reasons why he was behaving this way.

Sungyoon greatly trusted Jimin, who was his benefactor. Jimin was the daughter of Hyunwoo’s dead friend, and even after several years, Hyunwoo continued to look out for his dead friend’s daughter.

Hyunwoo was also one of the greatest Connectors of this world. Even if he had some kind of machination with Sungyoon in mind, Sungyoon had very limited use. In a process of elimination, Sungyoon guessed Hyunwoo was trying to help Jimin through him.

Sungyoon also wanted to gain some experience, so he could prepare for his future raid to the Great Labyrinth. This was why he had gone along with Hyunwoo.

However, this gesture was too much. He couldn’t gloss over it using these reasons.

“Something I want...”

Hyunwoo smirked.

“Do you realize how arrogant you sound right now? Do you really think you can offer me something I want?”

“….”

When Hyunwoo framed it in that fashion, Sungyoon had no answer. The man in front of him already had what most humans wanted in life.

“You are a naturally suspicious person, so it can’t be helped. If you want an answer, I want you to get as strong as possible. That is what I want from you.”

It was a very strange answer.

However, Sungyoon interpreted it as ‘Get strong quickly, so you can become Jimin’s strength.” Since Hyunwoo was coming at him like this, he couldn’t continue to hold out.

“… I’ll borrow it for a short time.”

Sungyoon picked up the Gem once again, and he spoke.

He wasn’t taking the Gem. He was borrowing it. Hyunwoo looked frustrated by Sungyoon, but that wasn’t the end.

“Also, I’ll be sure to pay back this favor.”

“…you are quite the frustrating person, my friend.”

It seemed Hyunwoo had given up. He waved his hand away. He was telling Sungyoon to go. Sungyoon bowed his head once, then he exited the pub.

After Sungyoon left, one would have assumed he would continue to drink an obscene amount of alcohol with the women by his side. Unexpectedly, he sent the women away.

He had acted a bit like an immature old man before, but now his face had cooled. His expression turned sober.

Took!

He took up his glass, and the ice shifted.

He looked down at his cup with no emotion in his eyes. Then he raised his head.

He took in the sight of the seat where Sungyoon had been sitting until recently.

The light in his eyes changed. There was a deep joy in his eyes.

‘He’s really amazing!’

He had observed Sungyoon as he let Sungyoon battle the monsters. As a result, he was able to confirm that Sungyoon had amazing potential.

‘Soobin can’t even reach his toes!’

He felt bad for comparing Sungyoon to Soobin.

In the past, Hyunwoo had seen Kim Soobin fight. His battle sense was mediocre.

Still, he expected Soobin to grow quickly as a Connector, but his expectation was shattered.

He remembered feeling very wistful when Kim Soobin turned out to be nothing.

However, Hyunwoo no longer needed him.

He no longer felt regret about Kim Soobin, because a really amazing Connector had made an appearance.

Hyunwoo once again emptied the cup. There were very few days like today when alcohol tasted delicious to him. He picked up the half-empty alcohol bottle. It happened when he was about to refill his cup.

Koo-roo-roo-roo!

The surface slightly shook. The tables and chairs shook. The alcohol in the bottle sloshed in his hands. Hyunwoo’s body swayed a little bit.

It was an earthquake.

It wasn’t a large earthquake. The building hadn’t shaken too much, yet he could hear raucous sounds from outside. He could faintly hear screams too.

It was to be expected. It was a common opinion that earthquakes didn’t occur on the Moon.

However, Hyunwoo wasn’t taken aback at all. Instead, a shallow smile formed on his lips.

‘It is starting.’

He didn’t care about the earthquake that had shaken his body. He didn’t pay attention to the ruckus outside. He placed the bottle to his lips, and he started chugging it.

The amber alcohol went down his throat. In a flash, the bottle was empty.

Was it a celebration for great things to come? Or was it a consolation drink to comfort himself from the terrible things to come?

His smile could be seen through the transparent glass bottle. He had the frightening smile that made him look like the devil.

***

Sungyoon’s day started out poorly. Of course, he felt the earthquake yesterday.

Fortunately, he was in a hotel that was called the best building in Armstrong. It was built very well, so nothing had happened.

The customers had all come out into the hallway, and the manager did his best to soothe the guests.

The manager’s efforts paid off. The ruckus died down within the hotel, and people started going back into their rooms in ones and twos.

There were still nervous people present, but they had nowhere else to go.

The only territory of Earth present on the Moon was Armstrong. Moreover, the guests knew this hotel was well built. In the end, they decided this place was the best place to be.

However, Sungyoon did see several people leave the hotel. They looked to be Connectors. Sungyoon heard some of them say they’d rather spend the night in their own Moon Surface Vehicles.

Sungyoon thought hard on it, but in the end, he decided to sleep in the hotel.

However, sleep didn’t come easily. He was barely able to go to sleep, and in the morning, he left after eating the breakfast provided by the hotel.

There were still a lot of people walking around the streets of Armstrong. However, it might have been his imagination, but he felt everyone looked a bit shaken and flustered.

Sungyoon headed towards the Aldrin spaceport. He went to the appointed place.

‘… There are a lot of people.’

There always was a large crowd here, but there were more people here than usual today. It might have something to do with the earthquake from early in the morning.

He could see some people arguing because they were unable to purchase a ticket. 

Sungyoon headed to the lobby of the airport. He folded his arms and he waited under a large clock.

How long had it been?

“Mr. Sungyoon!”

Tim waved his large hand as he approached Sungyoon.

He was larger than everyone around him, so he was easy to find. Sungyoon could see Emily by his side too.

Sungyoon unfolded his arms, and he approached them.

“How were your two weeks up here? Enjoyable?”

Tim pushed his hand forward as he asked the question.

“It wasn’t enjoyable, but it had its merits.”

Sungyoon shook Tim’s hand. Then he turned to look at Emily.

“How have you been?”

“I’ve been good.”

Emily let out a shy smile as she lightly nodded.

This was how the three of them joined up once again on the Moon.

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