Chapter 167

“Are you feeling better, Mr. Sungyoon?”

Jimin quickly walked toward Sungyoon.

“Yes. I’m still a bit tired, but I don't feel any pain.”

“That’s a relief.”

The words flushed some of the worries in Jimin's heart. The doctor already told her that he couldn’t find anything wrong with Sungyoon, yet she still had been worried.

“What happened after I lost consciousness?”

“That's...”

Jimin stopped talking for a brief moment, as the doctor had entered the room.

She stepped back. It seemed she prioritized his health over-explaining what had happened.

But she didn’t need to wait long. The doctor left after asking a couple of questions.

The doctor said he’d do a couple more tests at a later time, but most of the medical examination had already been done.

The hospital staff were merely monitoring the status of their patient, and they would only intervene if his health took a turn for the worse.

As soon as the doctor left, Jimin restarted her explanation.

“After the Behemoth was confirmed to be dead, Ms. Grace brought Mr. Sungyoon to this hospital.”

“So this is indeed a hospital? The room is quite nice for a hospital.”

The room was large, and its interior design was clean. It looked nothing like the typical hospital room.

“This is the best hospital room in the largest hospital in London. You are the hero who saved London. Of course, they’ll give you the VIP treatment.”

“What happened to London?”

Jimin shook her head from side to side. This gesture was enough to tell Sungyoon that London wasn’t in a good state.

“A lot of people died, and many were injured. Too many buildings were destroyed. It’ll take a lot of money, effort, and time to fix everything.”

“That's too bad.”

Sungyoon had tried his best, but his opponent was too strong. He couldn’t stop the damage occurring to London. However, he didn’t feel excessively guilty about it. Stopping the destruction had been beyond his abilities.

“How’s Ms. Grace?”

“She is safe. Mr. Tim and Ms. Emily arrived the next day, and she is with them. They are guarding the entrance to the cave, which you all were commissioned to investigate.”

“As expected, the monster appeared from that cave?”

“I believe so.”

“A monster appeared on Earth...”

“That's why all the countries are in a state of panic. It happened to London, and it could happen to them too.”

A monster had appeared on Earth. What if there was a second time? Moreover, there was no guarantee that monsters would only show up in London. So, of course, the other countries had to make preparations now.

“In some ways, England was on the lucky side. Two powerful Connectors were prepared and on stand-by with their Devices and Gems in possession.”

If Sungyoon and Grace hadn’t been present, London would have been completely destroyed.

“How are they preparing for the monsters?”

“I do not know what they’ll do. I don’t think anyone has a clear plan right now. This occurred not too long ago, so it is too short of a time to set up any countermeasures. The only thing they could do right now is to recall the high-rank Connectors from the Moon.”

If monsters appeared in their country, the government would dispatch the recalled Connectors. Sungyoon thought about it, but he could only come up with the same plan for the near future. He couldn’t come up with a different coherent plan that would work.

“All the news shows are talking about this event. It's a good way to see what other countries are planning.”

Jimin handed the remote controller over to him. Sungyoon was a bit tense as he turned on the TV. 

However, the screen showed something totally unexpected.

They were showing a large blown-up picture of himself.

- … He is from Korea, and his name is Woo Sungyoon. Currently, he is in a party with Ms. Grace Taylor, the granddaughter of the current queen. They raid the labyrinths together. They were in London to investigate a cave where magical energy was discovered. Their heroic actions saved London. The Parliament wants these two knighted as Knight Grand Cross and Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE). The request will be sent to the Queen, and it is assumed that she will agree...

Sungyoon had turned on the news to get up-to-date information on what was going on in the world. Instead he saw a large picture of his face on the screen. It was almost embarrassing as the reporter was busy praising Sungyoon.

Sungyoon quickly changed the channel. Since the appearance of the monster on Earth was a big event, he assumed the other news channel would be talking about it.

However, every news channel was showing an enlarged photo of his face from the fight. 

In the end, Sungyoon turned off the TV.

“What’s wrong? I thought it was a good picture of you.”

“… Is the mood of the country all like this right now?”

“Of course. The two of you are heroes who stopped the downfall of London. Moreover, the process of saving the city was very dramatic. A silver knight stopped the monster with the princess adored by the people of Britain. They think of you like one of the Knights of the Round Table. It is as if the legend of King Arthur has come to life. It's a story straight out of fairy tales.”

Jimin glanced at the TV, which had been shut off.

“Well, it is also true that the government needs a hero in order to reign in the panic and chaos.”

“What is GBE? I know it's some kind of an award for merit.”

“GBE. Knight Grand Cross. It is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a person. The Order has five separate ranks, and Mr. Sungyoon will receive the highest rank called GBE. The ‘Sir’ is automatically added to the name of anyone with the rank of GBE and the second rank of KBE. England’s most famous Connector Charlie Russell received the same honors. By receiving the GBE, Charlie Russell became Sir Russell.”

“So, the title will be added to my name as a knight?”

“Why? Do you like the sound of it?”

Jimin was a bit playful as she asked the question.

However, she was unable to bait him into changing his expression.

“I was just curious.”

“… I should've expected this reaction from you. If I’m to answer your question, the ‘Sir’ is automatically added to the name for a GBE, but one has to be a British citizen. As a non-Brit, you will be eligible for honorary knighthood. That is why the moniker of ‘Dame’ will be added to Ms. Grace’s name, but the moniker of ‘Sir’ won’t be added to Mr. Sungyoon’s name. In the first place, the moniker signifies one is a subject of the Queen, so of course, foreigners aren’t allowed to add it to their name. This means foreigners don't count towards the limit of knights. If the maximum number of Knights and Dames Grand Cross is reached, one cannot be added into the knighthood even if one has the merits.”

“So Grace will receive the honors?”

“Thankfully, the slots are open right now.”

This ended his question about the GBE.

Even if he wouldn’t receive the moniker of ‘Sir’, he would receive an honorary knighthood. It was enough of an honor for him. Moreover, Sungyoon wasn’t interested in the title at all.

He then started to move his various body parts. Thankfully, he didn't experience any pain, and his body was the picture of health.

“I’ll be discharged after tomorrow’s checkup?”

Sungyoon remembered the words spoken to him by the doctor earlier.

“Yes. He wants to do the examination just in case. I don’t know if I should say this, but it is merely a formality.”

“That’s good to hear. The others won’t have to wait too long for me.”

After he spoke those words, he started looking around his surroundings.

“Where are my Devices and Gems?”

“The Royal Family is keeping it safe through Ms. Grace since those are expensive items.”

“I see. I’ll just ask for it after I am discharged.”

“… I’m sorry, but what are you trying to do so soon?”

Was it just his feeling? Jimin’s face had stiffened.

“I’ll have to investigate the cave where the Behemoth appeared.”

Sungyoon spoke to her as if it were a given. It was as if he was saying that Earth rotated on its axis.

He had put his life on the line to fight just a couple days ago, yet he was voluntarily going to step back into danger once again. The man was doing it of his own volition.

“… Are you doing it because of the contract?”

Jimin was well aware of the fact that Sungyoon was almost obsessed with keeping his contracts and promises. She was the very first one to exploit this part of his personality for her own benefit.

“Yes.”

“You are going to raid the Great Labyrinth because of the contract with me. Am I correct?”

“… You are?”

When she kept asking odd questions, Sungyoon looked at Jimin with a puzzled look.

Jimin was silent for a brief moment. A serious expression apeared on her face, and it looked as if she was in constant anguish over her thoughts. Sungyoon didn’t talk to her as he allowed her to contemplate the matter.

“Mr. Sungyoon. I...”

She was about to say something, but she shut her mouth again. It seemed she felt very conflicted about what she was about to say. However, her face became resolute.

“Should we rethink our plan of raiding the Great Labyrinth?”

“… What do you mean?”

Sungyoon was truly surprised. Jimin had been solely focused on finding traces of her father in the Great Labyrinth. She had ignored all objections thrown her way and poured a massive amount of money into this endeavor.

Yet, she was suddenly talking about rethinking their plans of raiding the Great Labyrinth. It almost made him wonder if she was feeling ok.

“E... everyone around me told me it isn’t a good idea, and I am well aware of the problems of continuing my goals. This will be good for you, Mr. Sungyoon. In the end, it’ll be safer for you if you don’t have to enter the Great Labyrinth.”

Sungyoon didn’t respond at all as he looked at Jimin. It appeared as though he was trying to see through to her true intentions.

Jimin continued to speak.

“I’ll convey it to the others. If I explain it to them, I believe they’ll be understanding. In truth, the others want to go to the Great Labyrinth through their own will. And unlike them, Mr. Sungyoon is going because someone else wants you to go. I am willing to call off my contract with you.”

In the beginning, it sounded like she was giving a recommendation. However, near the end, she was almost speaking in a pleading voice.

“Were you shocked when you saw my battle?”

Jimin flinched. Sungyoon had guessed the correct answer.

‘If that wasn’t the case, there’s no way she would suddenly change her mind like this.’

Jimin always felt guilt for pushing Connectors into a life and death situation. Her guilt was much more severe when it came to Sungyoon. And now, she had seen a true battle between a monster and a Connector, and it had been beyond her imagination.

She hadn’t looked away for a single moment as she had watched Sungyoon’s battle on the screen. Of course, she had watched Sungyoon get battered too.

Thankfully, it ended with Sungyoon winning, but the battle had caused great shock within Jimin's heart.

Normally, she felt guilt, worry, and good feelings toward Sungyoon. And then, there were her feelings toward Shinhae. All these emotions swirled within her with abandon.

“You have Shinhae too. If you enter and die within the Great Labyrinth, she’ll be sad. I don’t want Shinhae to experience what I went through.”

“Do you see your younger self within Shinhae?”

“Yes. In some ways, I saw the reflection of my father in you. You probably had this thought before. My father would have never wanted me to look for him.”

Sungyoon stood up from the bed. He stood up and stared straight into Jimin’s face.

Jimin lowered her head. It seemed she was feeling very confused right now.

She had been blurting out the emotions that she normally buried deep inside her.

But Sungyoon’s battle with the Behemoth ruthlessly unearthed these emotions. There was no order to her emotions. They were mixed in a haphazard manner.

“… I’m saying this as a father of a child. I’m sure your father Hahn Jungbum wouldn’t want you to suffer in order to find his whereabouts. Let me reverse the roles. If Shinhae tried the same thing as you, I would be very worried and sad.”

Jimin didn't say anything. As expected, he had those thoughts. He was like all the others who looked negatively on her endeavors. However, this allowed Jimin to take control of her emotions.

She already knew all of this. Moreover, she would have an easier time convincing Sungyoon if he thought that way too. She kept telling herself that this was good news. However, Sungyoon wasn’t done speaking.

“I’m still speaking as a father of a child. I would feel proud of having such a daughter like you. It would be proof that my daughter loved me very much. It would be proof that my daughter viewed me as an excellent, wonderful, and loving father. I would know she loved me.”

Jimin raised her head. Her eyes had been slightly wet, and they turned round at Sungyoon's words.

“If I’m being honest, I'm envious of Mr. Hahn Jungbum for having a daughter like you.”

Sungyoon was telling her what he truly felt.

“I don't care if you rip up my contract or not. I will attempt to raid the Great Labyrinth. It isn't just about my contract to you, President. I made a promise to my party members.”

After saying those words, Sungyoon got back into the bed to lie down. He closed his eyes as he tried to sleep. He wanted to get rid of his remaining exhaustion.

Jimin didn’t move. Soon, she silently looked down at Sungyoon, who was quietly asleep. 

***

The hospital stay of a couple of days came to an end. Even if he was hospitalized, he wasn’t injured, so his stay in the hospital was quite boring. Moreover, reporters and members of Parliament kept trying to meet him. It was quite a headache.

Since Grace had come along with them, he tried his best to deal with them, but it was really annoying. Therefore, he felt much happier at the prospect of being discharged from the hospital.

Despite going through such events, Sungyoon was underestimating his own popularity. No, he didn’t care about it.

In order to go through the discharge procedure, he stood in front of the reception desk with someone dispatched from the British government. It happened at that moment.

“Excuse me….”

After he was fully discharged, he was about to head to the cave where Grace and the Ross siblings were waiting for him when someone called out to him.

It was the nearby nurse. She hesitated for a brief moment before handing him a pen and paper.

“M... Mr. Woo Sungyoon? May I have your autograph?”

Her face was slightly red. She looked like a fan meeting her idol. Sungyoon was taken aback by the sudden request.

“… You want me to sign it?”

“YES!”

Sungyoon was taken aback by the nurse’s forceful answer. He signed the blank paper with the signature that he used to sign contracts during his business days.

Of course, it wasn’t fancy. It was a crude and quite uneven signature. Yet the nurse was ecstatic as she let out a bright smile. She then hugged the autograph as she left.

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