Chapter 17

Sungyoon stared at Jimin’s face. She had a beautiful face, yet Sungyoon didn't show any signs of admiring her beauty. He was trying to discern her intent.

“…did you just say the Great Labyrinth?”

“Yes. Have you heard of the Great Labyrinth?”

Sungyoon wordlessly nodded.

It happened when humanity started to earnestly explore the labyrinths on the Moon. A big controversy arose during that time.

Who owned the labyrinths?

There were more than one labyrinth on the Moon, and all of them were spread across the surface of the Moon. The labyrinths were still a mystery at the time, but it was clear that a massive amount of money could be made by having rights to a labyrinth. It was a cash-cow and a treasure trove of energy. So of course, every country was interested in the labyrinths. That was why countries started using all kinds of methods to acquire at least one labyrinth.

A massive war of words occurred. Negotiations, persuasions, threats, etc. In fact, several countries came very close to fighting each other. It was a cold war. 

In the end, humanity was barely able to come up with a solution.

It didn’t really matter how many labyrinths a country possessed. If they didn’t have Connectors to gather the Moonstones from the labyrinths, the labyrinths were useless to them. That was why the number of labyrinths possessed by a country depended on how many Connectors they possessed. They had to be ‘above a certain level’ to be counted. If a Connector with the rights to a labyrinth died, a new Connector had to be assigned to that labyrinth.

“The Lunar city manages the ‘Beginner’s Labyrinth’. It is used for observation and research purposes. It is also where the novice Connectors practice fighting. They participate in real battles. When a Connector reaches a certain level, they are assigned a ‘Personal Labyrinth’. Aside from those labyrinths, there is the largest and most dangerous labyrinth. Those without qualifications can’t even enter it. Some think that the key to solving the mysteries of all the labyrinths is within the ‘Great Labyrinth’. You are referring to that Great Labyrinth?”

“That’s right.”

“I don’t understand you at all.”

Sungyoon couldn’t understand Jimin’s goals at all.

“You can’t go to the Great Labyrinth just because you want to go.”

That was the biggest question he had. Every labyrinth was dangerous, but the Great Labyrinth’s difficulty was second to none. That was why those without qualifications couldn’t enter it. As a 1st Gen Connector, it was a hurdle that was too high for him to overcome.

“I’m only a 1st Gen Connector. It would almost be impossible for me to be able to enter into the Great Labyrinth.”

“It isn’t completely impossible. There were several cases where 1st Gen Connectors earned the rights to enter the Great Labyrinth.”

“Yes, I heard about that. However, it is as you’ve said. Among the numerous 1st Gen Connectors, only a couple were able to gain entrance. Moreover, they only gained the right to enter, and their lack of skill and power prevented them from participating in the raids.”

Suspicion and bafflement grew as he listened to her talk. If she didn’t have the rights to his debt, he would have left by now.

“Most 1st Gen Connectors can’t even make it to the Great Labyrinth. Even Personal Labyrinths are out of reach. I heard a lot of them remain stuck in the ‘Beginner’s Labyrinth.’ There are always exceptions, but that doesn’t mean I can become one of those exceptions.”

There was a reason why countries didn’t pay much attention to 1st Gen Connectors. Since most of them were toiling in the ‘Beginner’s Labyrinth’, they wouldn’t be much help in securing more labyrinths.

Jimin didn’t say anything. From what he could glean from her attitude, it seemed she already knew this information.

“So why are you trying to send me to the Great Labyrinth?”

After reaching this far in their conversation, he became curious as to why she was so obsessed with the Great Labyrinth. Jimin readily spoke. It seemed she had no plans of hiding her reasons from him.

“Do you know someone called Hahn Jungbum?”

“It doesn’t ring any bells.”

By the look on Jimin’s face, he knew that this person was someone close to her. Some warmth returned to her cold face when she mentioned his name.

“He was one of the top Connectors in this country not too long ago. You might have seen him on tv.”

“…now that you mention it, the name does sound familiar.”

Sungyoon was barely able to dredge up a memory that was buried in his brain. He remembered seeing that name several times on the news.

“He is my father.”

Sungyoon was a bit surprised, but he was able to accept it quite easily. She was so young, yet she was the president of a company. Her high position made sense if she was the daughter of this country’s best Connector. She had a father, who had an incredible amount of wealth.

“Also, he went missing 8 years ago inside the Great Labyrinth.”

Her cold voice shook a little bit. It seemed she was forcing her emotions down.

Sungyoon finally realized her intentions a little bit.

“The reason why you want to send me to the Great Labyrinth is...”

“I’m trying to find traces of my father.”

At that moment, Jimin looked really desperate. Her face, which had been like a mask made out of ice, had cracked. It was full of ardent emotions. It was the emotions that arose from losing a parent.

“Now I know why you are so obsessed with the Great Labyrinth. But why me? Others are more qualified for the job.”

In order to rope him in, she had bought his expensive promissory notes, and she was promising him full support from her company. He knew he wasn’t worth that much.

“It is simple. None of them will come here.”

She let out a little sigh.

“I made this company in order to find clues about my father’s whereabouts. That is why I named it after my father. I made it in a rush, so it isn’t big. Also, I’m the only employee here.”

‘I thought the employee left her post to go do something. In truth, there was no one stationed there.’

He finally realized why there was no one manning the front desk.

“I cannot attract 2nd and 3rd Gen Connectors with this small company. Of course, the 1st Gen Connectors I can hire are limited. I’ve tried to hire them to aim for the Great Labyrinth, but they all turned me down. It is understandable. Normal Connectors work in the Personal Labyrinths. And even if they are qualified to enter it, an extremely small number of Connectors work in the Great Labyrinth.”

The mortality rate doubled in the Great Labyrinth. Of course, the Connector could make more money there, and one’s own country would put their full support behind the Connector. However, enough money could already be made in the Personal Labyrinth. There was no merit in risking one’s life by going into the Great Labyrinth.

In the end, there was a limited number of people trying to target the Great Labyrinth. Only the most powerful or the most curious Connectors went for it.

“That is why I asked a close friend of my father, who is also the chief of the Support Division within the Office of Business and Administration for the Moon’s Labyrinth, for a favor. I asked Insoo ahjussi for help.”

‘It’s that person.’

He wondered why the head of the Support Division was interested in him. He now knew the backstory.

“What did you ask for?”

“I told him I don’t care about the reasons behind it. I want to be introduced to someone that had a ‘weakness’. I need someone that can’t refuse my offer.”

He didn’t even need to ask about his own weakness.

‘My debt.’

It was a weight that he couldn’t lose. He really was sick of it.

“…even if I do accept your deal, the probability of me being able to go into the Great Labyrinth is extremely low. You know this, right?”

“I do. Even if you don’t gain the qualification to enter the Great Labyrinth, I won’t go back on my part of the deal. The terms and conditions of the contract will remain the same.”

He now knew why she was so fixated on the Great Labyrinth. Her terms were extremely fair. No, it was extremely tilted towards his favor. If he qualified, he would have to attempt the dangers that came with entering the Great Labyrinth. However, it was extremely unlikely that he’ll gain the qualification to attempt the Great Labyrinth.

This was like promising someone that they'll get 99% of his earnings if he won the lottery. It was empty talk. In fact, the probability of him winning the lottery was higher than him gaining qualifications to enter the Great Labyrinth.

He didn’t need to say anything further. He had to capitalize on this opportunity.

However, Sungyoon didn’t agree to the deal. Instead, he said something else.

“Even if I am able to enter into the Great Labyrinth, do you realize that there is a high probability that nothing might come from this?”

He was calling himself an idiot inside. He just needed to take what was presented to him. He shouldn’t be trying to antagonize her. It would only increase the possibility of her nixing the deal. He was yelling at himself inside, but he couldn’t just accept this offer. She was thinking solely about her father, and in some ways, it made him think about Shinhae.

“There is a high probability that your father has passed away. Even if there are traces left behind, it has been eight years. Any traces left behind would have been erased by time. The probability of you achieving your goal is extremely low. Despite knowing all this, is it worth using a massive amount of money to send me to the Great Labyrinth?”

“I don’t need any other reason for doing this.”

She wasn’t angry, agitated, or sad. Jimin was calm as she answered him.

“It is as you have said. There is a high probability that my father is already dead. The probability of finding any traces of him is low too. I’ve been told ad nauseam that what I’m doing right now is foolish. I am also of the same mind. However, people do not live their lives reasonably and logically.”

In fact, more people lived based on their emotions.

“Even if the odds are 1%, I have the wealth to make an attempt. Isn’t that enough?”

Many parents traveled all over the country when their child went missing. They gave up their lives to search for them. He even heard of a person that kept their dead child’s room as is for 10 years. There were parents that worked to resolve injustices perpetrated against them.

That’s how families worked. If there was a thread of hope, one wouldn’t give up. One would continue to miss them, and one would always want to see the missing family member.

“Let me turn this question around on you. What if your lovely daughter was in a similar position as my father? What would you do if you had the wealth I had?”

“…I would have acted in a similar fashion as you would.”

He would have given up everything in order to find Shinhae.

Sungyoon looked at Jimin’s face. She was beautiful. Most men would only look at her face, but he viewed her in a different light.

She had lost her father, and she just wanted to meet her father once again. She was merely a daughter that wanted even a scrap of information in regard to her father.

Jimin yearned for her father, and she was working hard to find him again. As a father himself, he felt jealous of Jimin’s father. 

‘I wonder if I am that kind of father to Shinhae.’

He couldn’t help it. He reflexively compared himself to Jimin’s father.

“I said everything I need to say to you. The only thing left is for you to give me an answer.”

Jimin took out a contract from beneath the desk, and she pushed it towards Sungyoon.

“What will you do?”

The content of the contract matched with what Jimin had said. A detailed clause was also written in regard to Jimin’s plan to support Shinhae.

He looked back and forth between the contract and Jimin. He didn’t think too long on it. All the clauses in the contract were in his favor, and he believed her motivation for offering him this contract.

He picked up a pen, and he signed with elegant handwriting. He pushed the contract towards Jimin then he stretched out his hand.

“I look forward to working with you, president.”

“Yes. I look forward to working with you too, Mr. Woo Sungyoon.”

Jimin gave a firm handshake.

For the first time, Sungyoon was able to see Jimin’s smile. The corners of her mouth turned up at the edges. It was a small smile, yet it was like a beautiful flower that bloomed after the snow had melted. It was a beautiful smile.

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