A large cloud of dust and the long tracks on the desolate surface of the Moon were left behind as the large wheels of the Moon Surface Vehicle spun away.
Inside the vehicle, Sungyoon and the Ross siblings looked a bit tense as they gazed at the way ahead.
They had decided to accept the rescue request. The rewards, the Jewel rank Gems, were too tempting. Moreover, Tim and Emily liked the idea of rescuing the princess.
Above all else, Sungyoon had a debt to repay to the princess. He was always going to pay it off whenever he got a chance. He just never expected the opportunity to come so soon like this.
They arrived at labyrinth H-005, Princess Grace’s labyrinth, and parked their vehicle in the front.
‘It seems other people beat us to it.’
As he exited his vehicle, Sungyoon could see around half a dozen vehicles parked near the entrance of the labyrinth. There was no order to how the Connectors had parked their vehicles.
Sungyoon saw someone run toward him in an ungainly manner. This man had a spacesuit on, so it seemed he wasn’t a Connector.
The man kept gesturing at Sungyoon’s party as if he wanted them to put on something.
‘He wants us to put on our helmets?’
To be precise, this man probably wanted to talk to them. The party put on their helmets, and they found the frequency matching the man’s communication device.
- Can you hear me?
It always felt weird using a communication device to talk to someone right in front of him.
Sungyoon spoke as the representative of the party.
- You are here for the rescue request?
The face behind the helmet brightened.
- Thank you for your cooperation. If I could have my way, I would throw everyone a welcoming party. However, this is an urgent situation, so please be understanding.
Sungyoon and the Ross siblings nodded.
- I hope you don’t take offense to this, but may I know your skill levels?
Sungyoon showed his Gems to the man. Tim and Emily followed suit.
“I’ve killed a Centaur by myself before. The two behind me possess Gems higher in rank than mine.”
After hearing Sungyoon’s words, the man looked over the Devices and Gems. His face brightened a bit.
- You are all quite skilled. We welcome you.
He guided Sungyoon’s party toward a vehicle parked near the entrance. Inside it, several people were walking around. The man gestured at someone inside the vehicle, and the person handed over a bundle of paper to him.
- Please take this.
Sungyoon took the papers and gave a cursory glance to it. Continuous lines drew a uniform shape on the papers.
- It is a map of this labyrinth.
The man spoke.
Sungyoon took a closer look.
“It isn’t a complete map.”
Only parts of the map were marked.
- We didn’t want to send Connectors inside without any plan in mind. That is why we decided to divvy up the labyrinth to conduct the search. If we don’t do that, multiple parties might search the same region. This method is more efficient.
- Once you completely search your assigned section, please come back up once again. We’ll give you the map to another region to search.
Sungyoon put away the map.
- You won’t be disappointed by the rewards. Anyone participating in this search will get a hundred thousand pounds. The ones to actually rescue the princess will each get a Jewel rank Gem. Of course, additional cash rewards will also be given on top of it. If you can rescue the Connectors who went missing alongside the princess we will give a good deal of additional reward.
Hundred thousand pounds, it converted to around 130 thousand dollars. This amount would be given to anyone taking part in this rescue attempt. It signaled that the British government took this matter very seriously.
However, the three of them were indifferent to the cash reward.
- There are a total of four people in the princess' party, including the princess herself. One of the party members died after sending out a request for help. So, you need to rescue three people. Please do your best in saving them.
However, Sungyoon didn’t immediately head inside the labyrinth. He still had something important to ask.
“So what happened here?”
Was this a common disaster that could happen in any labyrinth? Or did the distress originated because of something else? He had to know that information.
- I have no idea.
However, the answer that came was disappointing.
- We are still trying to assess the situation. The Connector in the princess’ party who contacted us, just said the princess was in trouble, and then the call ended. We quickly traveled here but found the Connector dead in front of the communication device. Her body was a bloody mess.
“Basically, you know nothing about what happened?”
- I’m sorry for not being able to give you any good info.
His face was very apologetic.
“Have any Connector teams that went in earlier than us come back out?”
- Several teams have, but they said nothing was amiss. It is a middle rank labyrinth.
The information put his mind at ease.
“Understood. We’ll enter immediately.”
- Thank you for the help.
Expressing his greetings, the man then ran toward another Moon Surface Vehicle approaching the labyrinth.
“Shall we go?”
The Ross siblings nodded at Sungyoon's words.
Leaving the helmets inside the vehicle, they entered the labyrinth.
There was nothing special about the interior of the labyrinth. The tunnel was made out of hard rock, and it kept continuing on and on.
“Hoo~! I love having air.”
Tim sounded happy. It seemed he felt very frustrated when he had been unable to talk. Emily continued to look at her surroundings with caution in her eyes.
“I don’t see anything out of the ordinary right now.”
The magical energy was flowing in a calm manner, and they didn't see any monsters. It wasn’t as dangerous as Emily’s labyrinth at the very least.
“A lot of accidents occur within the labyrinths. Do you think this might just be one of them?”
“It might be.”
Sungyoon also thought it was a possibility.
Still, they would gain nothing by standing here and talking. So, the party slowly advanced into the labyrinth.
They went forward through the tunnel until they reached a fork. Sungyoon opened his map, and he chose the tunnel that was marked on the map.
Defeating the beast type monsters that got in their way, the team continued their advance.
The party was assigned a very large section. It couldn’t be helped as this labyrinth was very large.
After they smashed through several floors, they got ready to spend the night in the labyrinth.
“I don’t think we can finish this task in one or two days. We are working so hard. And it’d be a bummer if some other team rescues the princess.”
Tim spoke as he placed his sleeping bag on the floor.
If they didn’t directly save Princess Grace, this was basically charity work for them. They would receive a hundred thousand pounds, but they could make more by hunting monsters in their labyrinth. If one put it into that perspective, they were losing money by coming here. The three of them could make money any time they wanted. So this trip would be worthless if they didn’t receive the Jewel rank Gems.
Of course, this didn’t mean they thought of saving the princess to be such a black and white matter. They hadn’t come here solely for the rewards.
“We came here knowing that was a possibility. Also, it is a good thing if the princess is rescued even if it is not by our hands.”
“Yes. Who cares if we become a bit disappointed? We are here for a rescue mission.”
Tim agreed with the words spoken by Sungyoon and Emily.
Still, their slightly naive thoughts were shattered after two days.
They had just entered the 12th floor and were about to start their search, when...
“… Should we consider ourselves lucky?”
Sungyoon sounded troubled.
A horrible sight was present in front of his eyes.
A corpse lay ahead, obviously the corpse of a human. However, the corpse wasn't in a normal state.
It had been ripped apart into pieces and spread across the surroundings.
The blood had already dried, and flesh pieces were all over the place. It was like watching a scene straight out of hell.
Emily quickly turned her head away, and she dry heaved. The face of the normally bold Tim had turned pale. Sungyoon probably was pale too.
However, he had killed a human before, and it might have been the reason he was in a better state than the two siblings.
‘I guess that’s considered an experience too.’
He inwardly scoffed at the thought as he turned to look at the two siblings.
“Both of you should rest. I’ll check out the corpse.”
“I... I will go with you.”
Tim quickly spoke up. However, he was still pale, and his voice shook a little bit. It was clear that he wasn’t in a good state.
“I... I will….”
Emily also tried to say she would go with him, but mid-sentence, she turned away as she placed a hand on her mouth.
Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“It’s fine. I’m a bit sorry to say this, but you won’t be of any help to me in your current state, Ms. Emily. Please rest for now. This goes for you too, Mr. Tim. Moreover, monsters might appear at any moment. Someone has to stay behind to protect Ms. Emily. That is why both of you should rest.”
When Sungyoon framed it that way, the two of them had to agree with his reasoning.
“Are you planning on recovering the corpse?”
“That is what I indeed plan to do.”
He had the storage Gem now, so he didn’t have to drag out the corpse as he had done in the past. He could just put it inside the storage Gem where his food supply was stored. But it felt unsettling because the corpse was shredded to pieces. However, he didn’t have the heart to leave behind the corpse when he had the means to transport it out.
The two siblings showed no problems with his decision.
“I also have something important I must do.”
Sungyoon sighed once when he heard Tim’s question. He spoke as he looked at the pieces of the corpse.
“We have to check if pieces of the princess’ corpse are amongst them.”
Tim and Emily were unable to say anything.
While the two siblings rested a bit away, Sungyoon went around to gather the corpse. As he looked at the sight, he was starting to get an idea as to what had happened.
First, he picked up a body part. It looked to be a part of the forearm, and it was soaked in blood.
‘These are teeth marks.’
He could see some teeth marks where this body part had been chewed off.
‘Did she get eaten by a monster?’
At this point, it was the most likely conjecture.
However, questions arose as he gathered more and more pieces. There were too many pieces left for this person to have been eaten.
The body had been reduced to this state, yet there weren’t that many pieces missing.
‘I don’t think this body was ripped apart with the intention of being eaten.’
It was more likely that the monster had ripped apart the body in anger or mischief.
Sungyoon gathered enough body parts to make up two people.
Both were women, but their faces were too damaged to identify them. Still, he couldn’t see Princess Grace’s distinct blonde hair on them.
Fortunately, Princess Grace wasn’t one of the corpses.
However, he hadn’t only found corpses.
He had also picked up Devices and Gems, and a lot of moonstones.
But the number of Gems was unusually small. Princess Grace’s party had been close to acquiring the rights to enter the Great Labyrinth. There was no way her party members would have possessed so few Gems.
‘They probably overclocked their Gems.’
Probably, a long battle had occurred here, and their Gems couldn’t withstand the strain. Consequently, the Gems broke in the battle.
On the other hand, there were a lot of Devices. One of them caught Sungyoon’s eyes. It was a necklace-type Device with two round slots. It possessed two omni slots capable of equipping Gold Gems.
‘I can use both my Gold rank Gems with this!’
He didn’t plan on stealing it in secret, but he thought it would be ok if he borrowed it to rescue the princess.
After he put away the necklace, Sungyoon checked the last moonstone.
‘It is quite large.’
It meant a very powerful monster had died here.
‘This might be a monster similar in rank as the Centaur. No, it might be a bit weaker.’
The moonstones were spread all over the place. Even if for some reason, the moonstones gathered by the women had been sent scattering into the surroundings, there was no way the moonstones would have spread so far and wide.
‘This meant they faced many monsters.’
This made Sungyoon tilt his head in puzzlement.
The map also indicated what types of monsters appeared on each floor.
Most of the monsters' levels could be judged according to the size of the moonstones. Monsters around the strength of the Centaur shouldn't have appeared on this floor. But by looking at the size and the number of moonstones present here, Sungyoon could conclude that multiple high rank monsters had appeared here.
‘Something is going on.’
It seemed this wasn’t what Sungyoon and the Ross siblings expected it to be. This wasn’t some common occurrence of Connectors going missing in the labyrinths.