“It didn’t go as easily as I expected it to.”
After seeing Sungyoon and the Ross siblings out, Grace sat back on the sofa. She took a sip of the black tea in front of her, but it had already cooled by now.
“What? Did you think they’d just let you into their party?”
“If I’m being honest, a part of me thought so.”
It had nothing to do with her social status. She had confidence in her own abilities. That was why she was a bit shocked right now.
“Of course, they should discuss it. There is nothing more important than accepting a new member into a party. It is a good sign that he isn’t an egomaniac that makes all the decisions by himself.”
He was right.
“Moreover, I can tell. They looked interested. Of course! You are unbelievable! Why wouldn't they want you!”
Russell raised his nose in pride as if it were his business. Grace looked at him with an incredulous expression.
“Are you really sure about this?”
Russell wiped the playful expression off from his face. He looked at her with worry in his eyes. There were no ifs, no ands, no buts about it. Grace had almost died.
The man himself had almost died many times when he was younger. That was why he understood how much fear Grace was feeling right now. To make matters worse, she had also lost all her comrades.
“… If I’m being honest, I’m still afraid.”
She hugged herself with her own arms.
The Princess had been trapped in the labyrinth. She remembered the fear that arose from the fact that she didn’t know when she would encounter a monster. She also recalled how her trusted party members had all died.
At that time, she had no idea if she could escape the place where not a single speck of light could enter. She had no hope, only despair.
It really was a dark experience.
Grace was proud of herself for even thinking about going back into the labyrinths.
“However, you know this better than anyone. Connectors can’t live completely away from the Moon.”
It also meant that if they wanted to live on the Moon, Connectors had to go make money in the labyrinths. Such was their fate.
“I never expected you to agree so readily when I said I wanted to join a different party. Moreover, you are actively helping me get into that party.”
“Let me be clear about this. This decision was not easy to arrive at. Your grandmother gave me an earful about it.”
Grace's grandmother was very against the idea of entrusting her granddaughter to some unknown party. When Grace had told them her intention of entering Sungyoon's party, the current queen opposed it quite fiercely. Russell had to go directly against her in order to support Grace’s decision.
The queen wanted Grace to join one of the famous parties from England. It would allow her to provide a certain degree of protection to Grace.
“Also, I looked into the party, especially Woo Sungyoon. He isn’t an ordinary person.”
Russell started to tell Grace about what he had found out. The information he had gathered was quite accurate, and he knew most of the events that had occurred to Sungyoon.
“… That's a very entertaining hero’s tale. Which author wrote that story?”
“Surprisingly, all of it is the truth. He is getting pretty famous in our community.”
His physical abilities and leadership ability were above average. He was also a person of sound judgment. She never expected him to be more extraordinary than her.
Grace’s assessment of Sungyoon went up a notch.
“Their skills are on par with you, and they respect your opinion. That is why I agreed with your request of entering their party.”
“It seems I made the right choice.”
“I think so too. Although this is only my hunch, I believe Woo Sungyoon will do something amazing in the future. You can carve out your own story too.”
It seemed he was reacting to her comment about the hero’s tale. Grace smirked as she joked around.
“Is this where the princess joins the hero on his journey? I’ll do my best.”
Russell laughed with her. However, he suddenly sobered up.
“Are you starting to develop an interest in him? I hope not. If you do, you have to tell me...”
“… Sir Russell.”
She let out a large sigh as she placed a hand over his mouth to shut him up.
Sungyoon and the Ross siblings discussed the prospect of Grace joining their party in earnest. No one really objected to it.
She had the skills and the status. As for the lack of trust between them, it was something they could build while working with each other. So they decided to accept Grace into their party.
However, Sungyoon had to meet someone first before he could deliver the good news to Grace.
As soon as he entered the store, she yelled out. Sungyoon looked toward the source of the voice.
Chelsea was sitting at a table, waving at him.
Sungyoon sat on the other side of her.
“It has been a while.”
“Yes, indeed. I heard through the grapevine that Mr. Sungyoon is living a life of extreme ups and downs?”
They had rescued Grace, and they had fought against a Skeleton. His party had also fought a life and death battle with a large number of monsters that had suddenly appeared. Despite all this, Sungyoon spoke in a calm manner. It seemed Chelsea had some information on what had happened, so she was baffled by his reaction.
“I wonder what you would have to experience to consider it an out of the ordinary day.”
“It isn’t as if I experienced those events because I wanted to. So, why did you call me here?”
He responded to her teasing remarks in a very blunt manner and went straight to business. Chelsea pouted at such a response.
However, she welcomed his brand of bluntness. Recently, she had only been focused on her research, and it had felt as if she had been caged in her lab.
“I heard you experienced another incident.”
“Are you talking about the incident with Ms. Taylor?”
The only incident he had experienced in recent days was the one inside Grace’s labyrinth.
“I’m talking about the person called Princess Grace.”
“Ah! That’s right!”
She was usually referred to as Princess Grace. Very few people remembered her last name of Taylor.
Chelsea took out a laptop from a bag next to her. She turned it on as she spoke.
“I would like to hear what you experienced in detail. Is that possible?”
“Is Ms. Chelsea’s research facility in charge of investigating this incident?”
“We are the only research facility on the Moon.”
Chelsea’s eyes reminded him of the eyes of a dead goldfish. When he looked closely, he could see dark circles behind her thick glasses.
“Thankfully, I have a connection with you. I was allowed to leave the premises in order to listen to an eyewitness's account of the incident. I can finally take a breather. The other researchers are struggling in hell right now.”
“It seems you're going through a lot of hardship.”
“Thank you for acknowledging that. That is why I’m going to blow off some steam before I go back.”
Chelsea pushed aside the laptop that she had just taken out. She opened the menu placed on top of the table.
“Let’s order first!”
By the look on her face, it seemed as if she wanted to order every food on the menu.
“You should order too, Mr. Sungyoon. I’m paying today.”
“You are paying today?”
Sungyoon subconsciously looked at his surroundings.
It was a decent sized store. And it was also unlike the store with no servers that Sungyoon and the Ross siblings used to visit.
Well-dressed employees were attending the tables. At a glance, he could tell this place was fairly expensive, and his suspicion was confirmed when he looked down at the prices on the menu.
However, Chelsea was nonchalant.
“It is fine. I have this.”
Chelsea took out something from her wallet. It was a credit card.
“I have to listen to Mr. Sungyoon’s story. It is considered work. That is why I brought a credit card issued by the research facility. I never expected my relationship with you would bring such a boon.”
She burrowed her head into the menu as if she were going to eat the menu instead of the food.
“I want this.... this...”
It didn’t seem she planned on ordering just one or two dishes to save money. Sungyoon felt a bit bad. He decided to pick the dishes that had reasonable prices.
“Since we are done ordering, may I hear your story?”
She had acted like a klutz up until that moment. But that version of her disappeared. She now acted like a researcher who investigated the unknown truths of the world.
It was said that a man looked more attractive when doing work. This held true for a working woman like Chelsea too.
Sungyoon had nothing to hide, so he calmly told his story.
Chelsea’s expression kept changing as time passed. She knew the general story, but it was a different experience listening to an account from someone who had gone through it. It provided a sense of realism to the story. When Sungyoon was finished, Chelsea let out a sigh.
“Since I’m in this line of work, I know that each Connector has one or two harrowing stories. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Connector who lives a life like yours.”
Chelsea entered the story on her laptop and organized it. She then expressed her surprise.
Their food started to come out. Chelsea raised her fork and knife in front of the table full of food.
Would he describe her as being tragically beautiful? He wondered if those words were appropriate for this situation.
She got busy as she started attacking the food in front of her. Sungyoon ate his portion too.
“Ah! I should tell you about the Golem you gave us.”
Chelsea swallowed another mouthful of food before continuing.
“I’m sorry to say this, but we haven’t found anything definite yet. The shape and the material is something we haven’t seen before. But just as we were about to start our research in earnest, the anomalies in the labyrinths had started, the highlight being the moonquake that originated from the Great Labyrinth. Then we received the report about magical energy leaking out from a labyrinth, which allowed the monsters to exit the labyrinth. This matter has a direct impact on the safety of Armstrong, so we were tasked to find the cause of these anomalies. That became our priority.”
“So the research on the Golem became a non-priority.”
Chelsea glanced at Sungyoon. She knew his personality, so she knew it wouldn’t happen. However, there was a chance that Sungyoon might become offended and take back the Golem.
But Sungyoon reacted as she had expected. He remained and looked almost disinterested in the topic.
“Is that so?”
As he spoke those words, Sungyoon pierced his food with his fork.
“… I feel a bit awkward saying this, but shouldn’t you show more interest in your own business?”
Chelsea couldn’t hold back from speaking up.
However, Sungyoon’s interest in the Golem wasn’t that high. He wasn’t a scientist, neither was he someone interested in research. The Golem was just a mysterious item that looked like a robot. He didn’t feel anything beyond that.
The only reason why he had the sole rights to the Golem was because of him giving up his rights to Mrs. Ross’ Devices and Gems. It almost felt as if the Golem had been pushed onto him.
Of course, he was still a little possessive of the item, and had zero desire to hand it over for free. But he wouldn’t go neurotic over the fact that the research on it wasn’t progressing.
“I’m satisfied if it helps you find the truths regarding the labyrinths.”
The labyrinths were getting more and more dangerous, so he preferred finding out more information about them.
“Are you planning on continuing to raid the labyrinths? At the very least, shouldn’t you rest until these anomalies subside?”
Chelsea sounded worried.
However, Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“There is no guarantee that the anomalies will subside. And as a Connector, I tread a fine line when it comes to danger. Above all else...”
A firm will was evident in his eyes.
“I am aiming for the Great Labyrinth.”
This was also true of the Ross siblings. He had already spoken to the two of them about this topic. It was also one of the reasons Grace wanted to join his party.
Chelsea couldn’t say anything when Sungyoon showed so much resolve.
But she couldn’t help but be worried.
She spoke in a small voice.
“Still, you should be careful.”
He had no objections to those words, so Sungyoon nodded.
Jiyoon was working hard at the company once again.
As expected, it was a great learning experience to work at a Connector company. This was different from what she had learned in the lecture hall. Here, she worked through problems as she gained real-world experience.
It also helped that Jungbum was in the midst of an expansion.
Jiyoon shut off the computer after she entered all the data given to her by Jimin. And when she looked at her watch, she realized it was pretty late.
It was time to leave soon. She double-checked her work as she started to clean her workspace.
‘Should I drink a cup of coffee before I leave?’
She walked towards the small lounge provided for the staff. But when she opened the door to the lounge, her eyes turned round.
Shinhae was sitting at the table. She had just finished drinking her milk when she turned to look at Jiyoon.Previous Chapter Next Chapter