Chapter 15

The Moon was in the sky. A dark curtain had come down over the night sky, and the Moon silently looked down at the surface. It was the day when the Moon could fully show off its shape. It was the day of the full moon. Even though the light pollution from the city made it hard for the stars to make their presence known, the Moon was still able to cast its bright light. No obstacles could erase its presence, and the Moon expressed itself with confidence.

Sungyoon was sitting on a park bench, and he blankly looked up at the sky. To be precise, he was looking up at the Moon.

‘If I accept his offer, I have to go there.’

He never thought a day would come when he would need to go to the Moon. It troubled his heart.

The moonstones were gathered within the Moon’s Labyrinth, and they were a source of energy. It provided 30% of the world’s current energy. He was qualified to gather the moonstones now. He could regain his wealth and live as a family with his daughter. It was a powerful opportunity for him, but the risks associated with the job worried him.

“There you are.”

Sungyoon’s thoughts were in turmoil as he watched the Moon. He was disturbed when someone spoke to him.

“I’m sorry. I made you wait too long. Some unexpected problems cropped up one after another.”

It was Insoo. He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief then he profusely apologized to Sungyoon. By the expression on his face, he looked really apologetic.

“It is fine.”

He had no work to do here in the first place. Sungyoon gave a curt reply as he stood up from the bench.

Insoo fished out his cell phone from his pocket. The screen lit up, and several notifications popped up. However, Insoo only needed it to tell the time.

“It is probably a good time for this. Are you a drinker?”

“Not really, but I can hold my weight.”

The drinking culture in Korean society was showing signs of slowly coming under control, but drinking in business was still non-negotiable. This had especially been true when Sungyoon was the president of his own company. Basically, if needed, Sungyoon could drink like a fish.

“That’s good. Let’s go.”

Insoo started walking with Sungyoon in tow.

Sungyoon thought Insoo would take him to a nearby restaurant or a bar. However, Insoo didn't go to the main street. He headed towards a high rise building with most of their lights off.  

“…this place?”

Sungyoon hadn’t shown any signs of discontent until now. However, he couldn’t help letting out that question.

“Ha ha! Most people are surprised when they come here.”

Insoo pressed the elevator button.

“I can take you to any of the good bars nearby, but most Connectors prefer this place. If you want, I’ll take you to a good pub later.”

The two of them entered the elevator, and Insoo pressed the button to the topmost floor.

“Is this a government building too?”

“No. This is a civilian-owned building. I asked for permission from its owner, so I can use it sometimes.”

Insoo got off the elevator then he took the emergency staircase to climb one more floor. Sungyoon saw a firmly shut steel door. It was the door to the rooftop, and it had been placed there as a security measure. Insoo took out a key, and he opened the door.

The view of the rooftop unfolded in front of Sungyoon’s eyes.

The slightly strong wind was tickling the nape of his neck. He didn’t know when someone had prepared all of this, but there were a large table and two chairs placed on the rooftop. There were various food and alcoholic drinks prepared on top of the table. There was a low light illuminating the background. It looked like something out of a dream. It gave him goosebumps.

Insoo walked towards the railing of the roof. He pointed down towards the city below.

“Isn’t it a beautiful sight? When my thoughts are in a mess, I sometimes come here. This is the tallest building in this city. You can see the entire city from up here.

Sungyoon stood next to Insoo, and he looked down at the city. The city was lit up by bright lights. When he was down there, he thought the city was full of useless lights that masked the light of the stars in the night sky. Now he was watching the lights from a little ways off, and the light of the city was spread across the surface like the Milky Way.

“Did you bring me here to show me this?”

“No. This is an awesome sight, but I have another reason for bringing you here, Mr. Sungyoon.”

Insoo pointed towards the brightly lit Moon.

“This is the tallest building in this city. It means we are closest to the Moon here. Fortunately, we have a clear sky today, so we can see the full moon.”

Sungyoon looked up at the sky and saw the Moon showing its splendor. It didn’t matter if one was on the surface or the building. When one considered the Lunar distance, the difference between the surface and the top of a high rise building seemed minuscule. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say the difference was negligent. However, it might just be a feeling, but the Moon looked a little bigger here.

“Please sit.”

Sungyoon sat in the chair at Insoo’s insistence. The weather was still a bit chilly, so the cold permeated into his jacket.

Insoo took up a bottle of alcohol. The soju cup had already been set up. Sungyoon raised his cup, and the clear soju filled the small cup.

“Let’s have a shot before we talk.”

The two men lightly clicked their glasses then they downed the alcohol. The unique alcohol flavor of distilled soju filled their palate.

“Please don’t hold back. This was all prepared in order to welcome you.”

Sungyoon didn’t hold back. It had been a while since he had eaten a feast like this. The hospital food was enough to fulfill his stomach, but if he was being honest, it didn’t taste that great. The table was filled with simple delivery food, but it was food that Sungyoon hadn’t been able to eat for a while. He didn’t have the money to purchase them.

The two took turns pouring the alcohol. They didn’t stop drinking and eating. It seemed Insoo was famished too as he kept stuffing food into his stomach.

It didn’t take them too long to empty most of the dishes. Three bottles of soju had also been emptied, and a fourth bottle was half empty.

Insoo was quite drunk right now. Compared to before, his voice was oddly higher in pitch, and he became more animated. Sungyoon was a little bit drunk too. However, he wasn’t that drunk compared to what he had imbibed. In the past, his head would already be fuzzy by now.

‘This must be thanks to the heart of the Moon.’

His body had gone through a change, and he assumed this was one of his new abilities.

“Connectors have a hard time getting drunk, and they metabolize the alcohol quickly. They don’t have a hangover. However, if they drink a lot of alcohol, they are capable of getting drunk.”

Insoo had accurately assessed Sunngyoon’s current state. He quickly poured soju into Sungyoon’s cup, and Sungyoon drained the shot.

“You said you are on the fence about going to the Moon, right?”

Insoo filled his own cup as he asked the question.

‘He is finally going to talk about it now.’

Sungyoon was a bit miffed. 

This topic was very important to Sungyoon. He didn’t think it was right to give such an explanation while drinking alcohol.

However, Insoo was a pro. He wasn’t having this important discussion here without a reason.

“You are probably asking why I am explaining such an important topic while we are drinking. I have a reason for doing this. Usually, newly awakened Connectors had a hard time feeling it. That is why I’m letting you drink alcohol. It dampens the conscious mind a little bit. Some other managers use other methods, but I use this method. Alternatively, we can just wait until you are able to sense it.”

“…what am I supposed to feel?”

Insoo had accurately assessed Sungyoon’s disgruntled state. Sungyoon sounded a bit sheepish as he asked the question.

“Do you know what percentage of the Connectors go to the Moon?”

“I’m not sure.”

“It is over 99%.”

Sungyoon was very surprised. Even if one could make significant amounts of money gathering moonstones, it was still dangerous work. They were paid so much only because the risk was significant. Despite this fact, Insoo was saying that most Connectors went to the Moon’s Labyrinth. After drinking another shot, Insoo continued to speak. 

“I’m saying 99%, because I do not know all the Connectors in the world. That is why I deducted 1% from the figure. But as for the Connectors I do know, a hundred percent of them travel to the Moon.”

“There must be some factor...”

The awakening of 1st Gen Connectors was completely random. Of course, there must be some that were rich prior to becoming a Connector. He didn’t even need to bring up the 1st Gen Connectors as an example. The 2nd and 3rd Gen Connectors either had one or both parents who were Connectors. They weren’t short on money.

There must be a reason why they were all drawn to the Moon.

“Yes, there is. In truth, one could make a lot of money gathering moonstones. However, it is troublesome work. You have to constantly risk your life, and it is nearly impossible to meet friends or acquaintances when on the Moon. It doesn’t end there. If you are clueless about how the market works in the Lunar city, you might cause significant disruption to the market. It might even affect the Connectors that earn well. It causes the Connectors to eat and play after earning their hard-earned money. There is no merit to continue going back to that place at a certain point. However, Connectors continue to head back to the Moon. It looks foolish from the outside, yet they go back, even after amassing hundreds of millions of dollars.”

It was hard, dangerous, and dirty work. Still, they headed back towards the Moon.

“Where do you want to go right now, Mr. Sungyoon?”

It really was a question that came out of nowhere. Sungyoon thought hard on it, but it didn’t take him long to come up with an answer.

“I want to go where my daughter is right now.”

After he was admitted and released from the hospital, he had wanted to go see Shinhae. However, he didn’t do it. He had made a promise to himself. If he went to see Shinhae every time he wanted to see her, Sungyoon would probably visit her every day. It was in his nature. That was why he couldn't go. He had to work to pay down his debt. He had to work for his life and the future of Shinhae. That was why he only visited Shinhae on scheduled days. It was why he had focused on his health and work after he was let out from the hospital.

Of course, he missed his daughter. He almost had a near-death experience, so his desire to see his daughter had become bigger than ever.

“I see.”

However, Insoo didn’t sound satisfied with the answer. It seemed that wasn’t the answer he was looking for.

“As expected, it must be very weak. You are drunk, and you are at a location that is closest to the Moon.”

“What do you want to hear from me? I really just want to go be with my daughter.”

Sungyoon unconsciously furrowed his brow. It sounded as if Insoo was trivializing his love for his daughter.

After Insoo refilled his own cup, he took a shot.

“I’m not trying to downplay your feelings for your daughter. However, you are a Connector. You should be filled with a desire to travel to your roots.”

Insoo brought down his shot glass hard enough to make the table ring a little bit. He looked at Sungyoon with fierce eyes.

“I don’t care about your emotions or logic. I want you to let go of your memories and your desires. I want you to feel where your non-beating heart is pointing towards. Where is it?”

Insoo spoke in a forceful manner. Sungyoon stared at Insoo, then he mirrored Insoo’s gesture. He placed his hand over his heart.

Sungyoon unconsciously raised his head up high. His black eyes took in the light of the round Moon in the sky.

He looked as if he was mesmerized by a ghost. Sungyoon spoke one word with a heavy voice.

“… Moon.”

His heart still refused to beat.

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