Chapter 174

“Are any of you injured?”

Sungyoon asked as he returned to his party members. From what he could see, no one looked injured.

Thankfully, all three of them shook their heads from side to side.

“This is everything I expected the Great Labyrinth to be. This place really is sheer torture.”

Tim kicked the Treant as he spoke.

As expected of a party that qualified to enter the Great Labyrinth, Sungyoon and the others were skillfully killing the monsters at the early stage of the Great Labyrinth.

The party members' mood elevated at the fact that their powers worked, but the feeling lasted only a moment. The monsters of the Great Labyrinth had special characteristics that couldn’t be seen in any other labyrinths. The party was blown away by it.

The Brutal Worms remained hidden underneath the ground and waited for the right opportunity to strike. The Treants looked like regular trees when they camouflaged themselves. All of this meant the party was always at risk of being ambushed.

Aside from these two types of monsters, other monsters also continued to threaten the party.

These monsters were full of surprises. It almost made Sungyoon’s party miss the monsters from the normal labyrinths, the monsters that charged forward in a mindless manner.

“Still, we're making a good amount of profit.”

Grace approached the location where one of the Treants had been killed. She squatted down to pick up the moonstone its corpse had left behind.

This moonstone was as big as a volleyball, and multiple colors swirled within it. It was as if a rainbow was trapped within this moonstone.

This moonstone only appeared within the Great Labyrinth. It was an extremely high-quality moonstone with concentrated magical energy, and, of course, it was quite expensive on the market.

London needed a lot of money for its reconstruction. So, Grace was very happy as she handed over the moonstone to Sungyoon.

“We should end the hunt soon.”

Sungyoon spoke. Normally, he would use his mechanical wristwatch to check the time. However, he didn’t need to do that. He just looked up at the sky.

The sky was clearly turning vivid red as if the sun was setting.

Of course, there was no sun in here. There wasn’t even a clear source of light, so why was the sky turning red? It was one of the countless unsolved mysteries of the Great Labyrinth.

Suddenly, Tim made a suggestion.

“Why don’t we spend the night here? If we plan on going deeper into the labyrinth, we should get used to it.”

The entrance to the Great Labyrinth was right next to Armstrong, and the party was only clearing the first floor.

Of course, the ease of access to the Great Labyrinth meant they had returned to Armstrong every night to rest. However, that would be impossible if they went deeper into the lower floors of the Great Labyrinth.

“I’m fine with it. What do you think we should do, Mr. Sungyoon?”

Grace agreed with Tim’s suggestion.

Emily looked like she would do whatever the party decided to do.

“Let’s do that.”

Sungyoon, who was facing the entrance of the Great Labyrinth, turned back toward the labyrinth. He and the others then walked through the grassy plain that had the red sky as the background. 

It was such a dreamy view that even an insensitive person would shed a tear in spite of oneself.

However, Sungyoon’s party wasn't interested in the view. They were constantly on guard. In previous runs, they had been ambushed by monsters when they got distracted by the view.

Thankfully, they arrived at their destination without encountering any monsters.

Shallow hills surrounded a deep depression in the ground, and a small stream cut through it. It looked to be a great place to make a camp. The shallow hills would block the winds.

As soon as the party entered this region, their bodies could no longer sense the ambient magical energy. It was a Magical Void.

Hyunwoo had shown Sungyoon this spot last time.

The party used their feet to flatten the ground, and then, put their blankets on the ground. While they were making preparations, the Great Labyrinth became engulfed by pure darkness.

Since there was no magical energy around them, they couldn’t see in the darkness. That was why Sungyoon took out a lantern from his storage Gem. The lantern brightened the surroundings. Sungyoon then took out a portable burner, pot, fry pan, meat, and other packaged foods.

Soon, the nearby region was filled with the smell of meat and soup being cooked. It was a smell that shouldn’t be present within a labyrinth.

Hyunwoo had gifted these items to Sungyoon saying they would be useful. And, indeed, thanks to these items, Sungyoon's party could enjoy a warm meal within the Great Labyrinth.

“I never expected to camp within a labyrinth. Moreover, we're doing this in the infamous Great Labyrinth of all places.”

Tim chewed on the cooked meat as he spoke.

Despite saying this, Tim looked a bit nervous. Aside from Sungyoon, all his fellow party members also looked a bit nervous.

Hyunwoo had taken Sungyoon around his Personal Labyrinth, and they had even shared alcohol inside. But unlike Sungyoon, it was the first time eating cooked meat within a labyrinth for his party members.

“I was surprised in the beginning too. However, monsters never enter the Magical Void. I even drank alcohol within Sung Hyunwoo’s Personal Labyrinth.”

“That's one thing I won’t do within a labyrinth.”

Tim shook his head from side to side.

In Personal Labyrinths, only the owner and the trusted comrades can enter. But in the Great Labyrinth, it's possible to run into untrustworthy Connectors. So while Mr. Hyunwoo and I only ate food within the Great Labyrinth, we didn’t drink any alcohol.”

If that hadn’t been the case, Sungyoon might have brought out alcohol too.

After they finished a warm meal, which was out of place within a labyrinth, the party got ready to sleep.

The first one to keep a night watch was Emily.

Sungyoon laid down as he placed a blanket over his body. However, he didn’t forget to do his ritual before he slept. He didn’t forget to look at the picture of Shinhae.

“Did something good happen with Shinhae? You're in a good mood.”

Emily asked the question. Sungyoon let out a rare smile as he answered her.

“I’m just renewed with joy that Shinhae is my daughter.”

It was an odd choice of words, and it aroused Emily's curiosity. 

However, Sungyoon didn’t speak any further. He once again looked at the picture.

***

Sungyoon’s party traveled around the grassy plain as they killed a lot of monsters.

As expected of monsters of the Great Labyrinth, the monsters came in waves. These monsters couldn’t be compared to the monsters of the normal labyrinths.

Here, each monster had powerful abilities, and they all used the terrain to their advantage. Moreover, some of the monsters attacked in packs. Of course, the reward was big too.

The party was earning money that couldn’t be earned in a Personal Labyrinth.

After a while, Sungyoon’s party went around the entire grassy plain, and they arrived at a hole in the wall. It was an entrance to a cave.

“Shall we head in?”

Sungyoon’s voice was clearly tense. His party members nodded, but they looked tense too.

They were about to leave the 1st floor of the Great Labyrinth. They would leave the grassy plain for the next floor.

Sungyoon had built up a good amount of experience in the grassy plain thanks to Hyunwoo’s help. It was the reason his party had a relatively easy time clearing this floor. However, from now on, it would be a different story. The party had information about the other floors, but none of them had actually experienced anything. So, of course, they were tense.

However, none of them turned back. Sungyoon was doing this for Jimin. The Ross siblings were doing this for their mother. And Grace was doing this for her country and the crown.

The reason differed for each person, but the goal was the same.

Sungyoon took the first step forward. The others followed him and slowly left behind the grassy plain to enter the dark cave.

The cave was long. The light from behind faded away, and the party could only use the information delivered through the magical energy to see in the darkness.

Soon, light appeared. It meant they were close to reaching the next floor.

Everyone was nervous as they gripped their weapons. It was as if they expected something to pop out in front of them.

Hoo-oo-oong!

When they exited the cave, the first thing that greeted them was the wind. Sungyoon’s cape and the robes of Emily and Grace crazily fluttered in the wind. Emily and Grace had to clutch at their robes.

“This place is….”

Sungyoon kept his eyes open as he surveyed his surroundings.

Green grass appeared in his sight. The green grass contrasted well with the blue sky, and in some ways, it looked like the grassland on the first floor.

However, that wasn’t the case. Sungyoon looked back at where they had exited. He could see a large hole in a hill. When he took a couple of steps forward, he was greeted by a cliff. He caught sight of white clouds, and he couldn’t see what was below. The other party members followed Sungyoon, and they also expressed their surprise.

“This is amazing.”

Tim spoke. Emily and Grace stood close to the cliff as they looked down. Sungyoon took out a cup from his storage Gem and tossed it over. The others looked on with interest when Sungyoon conducted the experiment.

The cup pierced through the cloud, and it disappeared. However, the sound of the cup hitting the floor didn't rang out. 

The four of them just heard the wailing of the winds.

“… Let’s move.”

Sungyoon took a step back from the cliff as he spoke. The other party members nodded and stepped away too.

The place they had arrived at was a plateau surrounded by cliffs. Countless clouds surrounded the cliffs, and it was unknown as to how far one had to travel to reach the bottom. 

Sungyoon started walking as he gave a warning to his party.

“We can't only be worried about the ground monsters here. There are aerial type monsters on this floor, and they might attack from the sky. Please be careful.”

It was as if he had spoken it into existence.

Ggeeeeeeeek!

A chilling cry rang out from the sky.

The party looked up and saw five dots circling them. These monsters looked like vultures hunting for a corpse.

“They are the Four-Winged Vultures.”

Sungyoon spoke. It had been a while since he had used his sight-enhancing magic.

“It seems they want to make us their next meal.”

The five dark dots in the sky started to get larger. The monsters were descending at extremely high speed.

“Mr. Tim! Please stick close to Ms. Emily and Ms. Grace! Don’t worry about attacking the monsters! Just focus on protecting the two of them! Ms. Grace! Please prepare a spell! I would like either a thunder or a wind magic spell! Ms. Emily should place defense magic on all of us just in case!”

This was their first time fighting an aerial type monster.

Sungyoon wanted to ensure safety before attacking with full power.

The party moved according to Sungyoon’s orders like a well-oiled machine.

Sungyoon raised his sword as he looked up. The dots were getting larger, and he could see monstrous birds with four wings flapping toward him.

“I’m ready!”

“Shoot it!”

Grace extended her staff.

A terrifying amount of electricity flowed through the staff. It was Grace's newly acquired Jewel rank magic Gem.

Koo-roo-roo-roong!

Flash!

The light swirled as it shot forward, causing the air to vibrate. The powerful light made Sungyoon’s party close their eyes. Only after the light subsided did they open their eyes.

The number of Four-Winged Vultures had been reduced to three from five as two blackened Four-Winged Vultures fell from the sky.

“I only killed two?”

Grace was very surprised. Sungyoon was also taken aback by it. 

They had expected the entire group to be wiped. At the very least, they expected the spell to kill four monsters.

At that moment, the remaining Four-Winged Vultures swung their wings in a powerful manner.

“Mr. Tim! Protect the two of them!”

Before Sungyoon could finish his words, Tim had raised his large shield, and Emily and Grace quickly moved under this shield.

Sungyoon also raised his shield.

Ting! Ting! Ting! Ting!

Numerous plates erupted from the edge of his shield and blocked all the feathers coming at him.

Tim’s shield also blocked all the feathers. No one was hurt.

However, this attack allowed the Four-Winged Vultures to get close to Sungyoon’s party.

Ggeeeeeeeeeek!

The monsters screeched as they dived toward the party with their claws extended.

Two of them attacked Tim, and the other one attacked Sungyoon.

Sungyoon dodged the attack coming at him.

Kwah-jeek!

The sharp claws dug deep into the ground, and Sungyoon quickly swung his sword at it.

Hoo-oong!

‘It dodged?’

The monster flapped its wings to move its body, and Sungyoon’s sword missed everything.

Sungyoon immediately unsummoned his sword and shield. He then summoned his halberd and stabbed the monster.

Sss-kahk!

Ggyahhhhhhhk!

The halberd’s spear blade barely reached the wing of the Four-Winged Vulture, yet, feathers and blood flew into the air.

‘As expected, its defense is weak!’

These monsters' mobility and attack power were high, but their constitution was weak. The information Sungyoon had about them was correct.

Sungyoon's halberd was a Red rank weapon Gem. It was the highest rank amongst the Rainbow rank Gems, but at the end of the day, it was merely a Rainbow rank Gem.

Despite this fact, the Four-Winged Vulture was heavily damaged by the halberd after being grazed by it. 

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