Chapter 172

Sungyoon didn’t say anything for a long time. He just gulped.

“A... are you sure we can enter this place?”

Those were the only words Sungyoon could push out. Hyunwoo let out a big laugh as he nodded.

Ssah-bahk!

Sungyoon heard the sound of his feet trample the fragrant grass.

He was wearing sturdy steel boots, so, of course, he couldn’t feel the grass. However, he could easily imagine what it would feel like.

The surroundings were so peaceful that it felt like paradise. For a brief moment, Sungyoon forgot that he was in the Great Labyrinth.

“Aigo. The guests have arrived. They are here to greet you.”

Sungyoon broke out of his reverie when he heard Hyunwoo’s words. He looked straight forwards, and he saw several monsters slowly approaching them.

“That's….”

“You’ve never seen a Mad Dog before?”

Mad Dog. It was the very first monster Sungyoon had killed. 

It was the type of monster that populated the highest floor of the labyrinths. Basically, it was one of the lowest rank monsters.

“… Mad Dog?”

However, Sungyoon was having a hard time believing that the monsters in front of him were Mad Dogs.

They were 1.5 m tall, and 3 m long. Their fur looked like steel bristles, and their canines reminded one of sharp blades.

Aside from the red eyes that were unique to monsters, the Mad Dog looked entirely different from what Sungyoon had seen of them.

“Yes. Mad Dog. To be precise, they are the Great Labyrinth’s Mad Dog.”

Hyunwoo pointed with his chin.

“It's the same here as the other labyrinths. The Mad Dogs are the weakest monsters within the Great Labyrinth. Try killing them by yourself.”

The Mad Dogs had already registered Sungyoon and Hyunwoo as enemies. They growled as they revealed their teeth.

At Hyunwoo’s insistence, Sungyoon stepped forward. He gulped once and then summoned his sword and a new small and round shield.

The British government had given him this new shield as recompense for his destroyed shield and spear. It was a Gold-rank shield.

After arming himself, Sungyoon slowly walked forward.

Five Mad Dogs rushed at Sungyoon, revealing their teeth. They lowered themselves as if they became ready to pounce.

It happened at that moment.

Pah-aht!

Sungyoon’s cape unfurled as it turned into wings.

In a flash, his body accelerated.

The pack of Mad Dogs had their guard down to a certain degree because there was some distance between them and their prey. But Sungyoon reached the pack in a flash.

Ssuh-guhk!

His sword instantly cut through the head of a Mad Dog.

‘Tough!’

Sungyoon could feel an unpleasant and heavy feeling through his hands. 

However, he didn’t have the time to think.

Koo-ahhhhhhhhhh!

The Mad Dogs reacted much faster than any monsters he had met up until now. Sungyoon was almost taken aback by their instantaneous reaction speed as teeth and claws flew toward him from all directions.

“Koo-oohk!”

He raised his shield.

Too-hwahk!

Four thin plates extended out from the edge of the shield and extended far enough to block all the attacks by the Mad Dogs.

“Ha-ahhhhht!”

Sungyoon then immediately swung his sword again.

As the Mad Dogs rushed him from all sides, he felt like a lion surrounded by a pack of hyenas.

Hyunwoo stood in the distance with his arms crossed. Sungyoon failed to deflect several attacks, but thankfully, his armor blocked all the attacks.

Kwah-jeek!

Sungyoon could barely let out a sigh of relief when he planted his sword in the forehead of the last Mad Dog.

“This was your first battle within the Great Labyrinth. How does it feel?”

Hyunwoo was so calm that it almost made Sungyoon feel annoyed. Sungyoon furrowed his brows as he watched Hyunwoo approach him.

“It was hard.”

“Still, it is doable, right?”

“Yes, it really was.”

Sungyoon relaxed as he spoke. He had four Jewel rank Gems, and three of them were battle-related. He had enough power to be effective within the Great Labyrinth.

“Let me give you a warning….”

Hyunwoo raised his sword up high.

“You shouldn’t underestimate the Great Labyrinth.”

Kwahhhhhhhhhng!

Hyunwoo’s sword was a great sword surrounded by an enormous flame. As Hyunwoo swung it, the ground split apart. The green grass burned black, and a huge furrow appeared on the ground. Sungyoon shuddered at the display of overwhelming power.

But he could see something in the furrow dug by Hyunwoo. It was a monster split in two.

“That is….”

“Brutal Worm. It shoots out of the ground to eat its prey.”

On the whole, it looked like a large worm. It looked like it had a head and the mouth of a lamprey eel. Its funnel-like mouth had sharp teeth. The monster was creepy looking.

“The environment within the Great Labyrinth is like Earth. It's why there are monsters that use their surroundings to their advantage. Of course, these types of monsters are more annoying to deal with than the strong monsters that fight in a straightforward manner. If you put your guard down, you will die.”

“… I will take your word to heart.”

Sungyoon didn’t move his gaze away from the Brutal Worm as he nodded.

“Well, let’s take this slowly. I’m here to give you a taste of the Great Labyrinth. We’ll stick to going around the plain. Is that ok?”

“Yes.”

The walls to the plain were in the distance, but they looked hazy. It was obvious that this plain boasted enormous size.

‘Didn’t they say that the magical energy distorts the space within this place?’

This meant it might take them a very long time to just tour this place.

Sungyoon didn’t want to miss any detail. His eyes were wide open as he followed Hyunwoo.

***

Sungyoon sat in the grassland as he looked up toward the sky. He knew there was a ceiling, but he could only see the blue sky. It was a mysterious phenomenon. 

It had already been twenty days since he had entered the Great Labyrinth. This place had been extremely tough for him. He had to fight brand new monsters that took advantage of the unique environment, and it was causing him a lot of trouble.

“Still, you're getting used to it, right?”

“That's why I followed you in here. It was for that purpose.”

Thankfully, Sungyoon was able to experience the Great Labyrinth under the protection of Hyunwoo. He could afford to take it very slow even if it meant he would only get to view the plain. 

‘If Mr. Hyunwoo didn’t let me experience this, I would have been in real trouble.’

However, this field trip was coming to an end today. Sungyoon’s party would be coming up to the Moon soon.

Hyunwoo escorted Sungyoon to the entrance of the Great Labyrinth.

“Well, it's time for the good boy to go back home. Don’t get sidetracked and go straight to home. Don’t eat too many sweets. Eat your meals, brush your teeth, and sleep early.”

“I’ll keep those words in mind.”

“Yes, yes. You're a good boy that listens to the words of an adult.”

Hyunwoo cackled.

“Thank you very much for taking me on a field trip to the Great Labyrinth.”

Sungyoon lowered his head.

“It’s fine. My party members didn’t receive their rotation schedule yet either. I’m just burning time with you.”

“Still, I would like to thank you.”

“Well, you're free to do whatever you want. I want you to use this experience so that you can do great in your future raids to the Great Labyrinth. Also...”

Hyunwoo turned his back to Sungyoon.

“I hope you find traces of Jungbum.”

Sungyoon couldn’t see the expression Hyunwoo was making.

***

Sungyoon entered the company building. It seemed no one was here yet as he could hear no sound.

He took a quick shower and then took out a beer. He sat on the sofa and watched the TV. Sungyoon was making enough money that such small luxuries didn’t bother him anymore.

Ding dong!

He had been watching the TV for a while when he heard the doorbell ring. Sungyoon opened the door.

“You're here.”

“Hello, Mr. Sungyoon.”

It was Grace.

Although she was in the same party as Sungyoon and the Ross siblings, they were affiliated with different companies. Therefore, Grace resided at a different lodging.

Grace often visited Sungyoon’s company lodging to meet her party members.

Sungyoon guided her inside.

He made Grace a cup of black tea, and then, they headed toward the living room.

“Mr. Tim and Ms. Emily aren’t here yet?”

“Their rotation schedule still hasn’t been determined.”

“It's understandable. It's an important problem.”

The fact that Sungyoon and Grace were able to resolve their schedule so quickly was abnormal.

Sungyoon placed the cup of black tea in front of Grace and then sat across from her.

“Is everything ok with England?”

“There is no way we're doing ok.”

Grace smelled the fragrance of the black tea as she shook her head from side to side. The Behemoth’s ambush had created a wound deep enough that it couldn’t be perfectly healed in a short amount of time.

“In this kind of situation, we need more and more money.”

Grace had donated an incredible sum of money in order to help with the restoration of London.

Moreover, just before that, she had to spend an incredible amount of money to replace her broken Gems not too long ago. So she wasn’t doing well financially.

Despite this, she was trying to go into the labyrinth so that she could contribute more to the recovery fund of London.

Sungyoon followed Grace’s example, and he had donated a good amount of money to the recovery efforts. However, there was no way it was enough. England had to reconstruct one of the most eminent capitals of the world. But, of course, his actions further improved his image in England.

“Should the two of us go to the labyrinth?”

Since the Ross siblings weren’t on the Moon yet, their options were limited.

“We might have to do that. Even if it is a pittance, I have to make more money.”

“Let’s do that.”

“Thank you. Ever since I’ve met you, it seems I’m only receiving help from you.”

She realized it was true. She had accrued several debts to him.

He had saved her life, her family, and her country. Grace knew money wasn’t enough to repay these debts.

She especially felt this way, because he had come to her aid when he had heard her despair. He had shown up in his silver armor with the red cape fluttering behind him. He hadn't hesitated to face off against the Behemoth.

“What’s wrong?”

“Hmm?”

Grace startled in surprise. For a brief moment, she had just been staring at Sungyoon’s face.

Grace had saved London alongside Sungyoon. However, she was a British citizen, and she was the granddaughter of the Queen. She had a duty to fight. However, this wasn’t the case with Sungyoon. 

In the process of saving London, Grace had the closest view of the bloody fight between Sungyoon and the Behemoth. The red cape had fluttered in the wind as the silver knight had stood up to the Behemoth. The sight had been enough to make her admire him.

“It's nothing.”

She fanned her face as if she was hot. She tried to lower the temperature, but her red cheeks were quite noticeable thanks to her white skin. 

“Anyway, why did you come up here before all of us? What were you doing?”

It was obvious she was trying to switch topic. However, Sungyoon didn’t question it, nor did he make any issue of it. He let her change the topic.

“I entered the Great Labyrinth.”

“What?”

Grace became curious. She was also someone aiming to enter the Great Labyrinth.

“H... how was it?”

“It was...”

Sungyoon slowly told her his experience. As she patiently listened, Grace was like a student listening to a teacher right before a test.

***

He was at the deepest part of the Great Labyrinth. It was so deep that one had to wonder if he was at the center of the Moon.

There wasn’t a single mote of light, and the place was structured like every other labyrinth.

However, there was a difference. On the wall, there was a ten-meter-tall door.

The door looked sturdy, and it was made out of some unknown metal.

Was it a door protecting a mound of treasure?

However, an ominous energy was leaking out from a crack in the door. It wasn’t protecting some fancy treasure from outsiders. Instead, it felt as if the door was keeping something from coming out.

Numerous monsters roamed the area in front of the door.

Between them, was a monster that looked like a demon wearing flames around its body. Another monster had no real body. It was made out of light. Numerous large monsters and other monsters that looked similar to humans hung out in front of the door. However, in the various monsters, one thing was common. They were all incredibly powerful.

Ddoo-buhk!

The sound of steps rang out. All the red eyes looked toward the source of the sound at the same time. It really was a terrifying sight.

Ddoo-buhk! Ddoo-buhk!

The owner of the footsteps pierced through the darkness to appear in front of them.

It was Hyunwoo.

Did one of the strongest Connectors finally reach the deepest part of the Great Labyrinth?

Surprisingly, none of his Gems were activated. When considering the monsters around him, it could only be considered a suicide attempt.

However, that wasn’t the case at all.

For some reason, the monsters didn't react. They should have been immediately charging toward him, yet, their eyes soon lost interest and they looked away from him.

Hyunwoo slowly walked amongst the monsters.

- You are here.

A hideous-sounding voice came rang out. it sounded as if someone was scratching a steel plate. 

Something walked out from within the group of monsters and stood in front of Hyunwoo.

It was similar in size as a human but slightly taller than Hyunwoo. It wore a thick robe around itself. At a glance, someone could mistake it for a human. 

However, the four red eyes within the hood made it clear that it wasn’t a human.

“It has been a while.”

Were they acquaintances? 

Hyunwoo gave a brief greeting.

- Let’s end the small talk. How was it?

Its rough voice made Hyunwoo frown. The unpleasant and twisted voice ruthlessly scratched at his eardrums. It automatically made him angry and stressed.

‘This is why I hate talking to this guy.’

However, he had no choice. The monster in front of him was his ‘comrade’. That was a fact.

“It was a success. The Behemoth was transported to Earth.”

It started laughing.

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