Chapter 176

It was an ordinary sight in front of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. A group had gathered at the entrance. 

Unlike the quiet entrance to the Great Labyrinth, newly awakened Connectors crowded the entrance to the Beginner’s Labyrinth. They gathered for their future prospects. They continued to come here for fame and fortune.

Some would continue to progress in their career. Some would stall. And some would never come back out of this labyrinth again.

However, something was different on this day. 

The group at the entrance wasn't going inside, and were looking toward one direction.

The first thing they noticed was the four Connectors. Then the group saw a lot of Devices and Gems adorned all over these four Connectors, and the group could tell that these four didn’t belong in the Beginner’s Labyrinth. 

The four Connector were Sungyoon and his party members. 

“Ha-haht! It is the Beginner’s Labyrinth! I missed it!”

“It hasn't been that long since we cleared it. How can you say you already miss it?”

As always, the Ross siblings bickered with each other.

Unlike their tense expression when they had entered the Great Labyrinth, not even a single ounce of nervousness could be found on their faces now.

Usually, Sungyoon would have given them a word of warning, but he let them be this time. It would be absurd for them to be wary of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. They had become too powerful.

Still, he decided to say something right before they entered the labyrinth. Even if this was a low rank labyrinth, a single mistake could kill them. Moreover, they weren’t the only ones present.

“Well, let’s go in!”

Sungyoon heard a voice full of anticipation. He saw McGregor urging him and his party to enter the labyrinth from a few feet away. The excitement in his eyes was visible. Chelsea, who was usually stuck in the research facility, stood next to McGregor. She was raising her hands in excitement. Both of the researchers had worn backpacks. 

The Director, Chelsea, and Sungyoon’s party stood in front of the entrance. Sungyoon's party was there to fulfill McGregor's request. They had to escort and protect the researchers while they explored the labyrinth.

“Is it just the two of you?”

Sungyoon had thought a large research team would investigate the Beginner’s Labyrinth. But in reality, only McGregor and Chelsea had shown up.

“Are you disappointed? I thought it would be best to keep the number low, so you would have an easier time protecting us.”

“That's true. I was just curious because it was different from what I expected.”

“Honestly, we were only able to make two magical energy controllers. I had a hard time rejecting all the researchers who wanted to come.”

McGregor let out a hearty laugh. It seemed the magical energy controller was a device created using the Golem’s ore. It protected living beings from the magical energy.

Sungyoon looked at Chelsea. He understood why the Director was here, but Chelsea wasn’t that high up in standing within the research facility.

He wondered why she was able to take hold of one of the two magical energy controllers.

Chelsea understood the meaning behind Sungyoon's gaze. She put up a peace sign.

“I'll have to thank Jimin once again for introducing me to you, Mr. Sungyoon. As expected, it's good to have personal connections.”

She didn’t have to say anything further. Sungyoon understood what had happened.

“You could've asked for more time from us.”

“You dropped everything for us because we said this was important work. I would feel bad if we delayed this venture.”

McGregor answered Sungyoon.

McGregor had requested Sungyoon to clear some time for the researchers a week before he headed back down to Earth. But instead of doing that, Sungyoon’s party decided to stop their run in the Great Labyrinth. They gave the researchers their time as soon as possible. The party thought solving the mysteries of the labyrinths took precedent over their own labyrinth run. However, their actions had the effect of putting undue pressure on McGregor.

“On the other hand, I did want to enter as soon as possible.”

That might be the true reason McGregor hadn’t waited for more magic energy controllers to be made. However, it didn’t matter anymore. Sungyoon's party had to escort the two researchers into the labyrinth.

“Let’s go.”

As he spoke those words, Sungyoon activated his Gems.

“Ooh-wah~!”

“Ho-oh~!”

McGregor and Chelsea let out an exclamation. They circled around Sungyoon as they inspected his sword, shield, armor, and cape.

“What metal is this made out of?”

McGregor knocked on the shield.

“On the screen, it looked quite tough. Unexpectedly, it feels quite smooth. It feels like silk.”

Chelsea tugged at Sungyoon’s cape.

Sungyoon had a different thought at that moment. Even if McGregor wasn’t the director, he would have found some way to be here. And even if Chelsea didn’t have any personal connection to Sungyoon, she would have found some way to get one of the magical energy controllers.

“Let’s go.”

Sungyoon was a bit forceful as he pried the two researchers off of him. He walked toward the labyrinth as if he were running away.

The two researchers looked disappointed, but it only lasted for a moment. McGregor then latched onto Tim, and Chelsea approached Emily and Grace. The two of them had started to harass the other members of Sungyoon’s party.

In the end, it took a bit of time before all of them entered the labyrinth.

***

It had been a while since Sungyoon had come to the Beginner’s Labyrinth, but nothing had changed. Sungyoon looked at Chelsea and McGregor, who stood next to him.

“Are you two ok?”

“Nothing is out of place.”

“I’m fine.”

McGregor and Chelsea patted their body as they spoke.

They didn't show any signs of being poisoned by the magical energy.

Sungyoon, who had been inwardly nervous, could now relax.

“Oh! This is the labyrinth!”

Sungyoon had to grab the collars of the two researchers, as they were about to rush forward. He realized that he had to be on his toes when it came to these two.

‘It feels like I’m babysitting two kids.’

No, it might have been better if they were kids. 

Thankfully, they became more careful after Sungyoon gave them an earful. They started following Sungyoon’s directions.

“It's very dark in here.”

Chelsea moved her flashlight around as she spoke. The labyrinth was merely a space with no light for regular people. If they didn’t have a flashlight or a lantern, their eyes would be useless.

‘Electronics work in their hands.’

These flashlights and lanterns used electricity, so they weren’t supposed to work in the labyrinths. It seemed that the magical energy controller protected electronics too along with living beings.

“May you turn off your flashlight and lantern for a moment?”

Sungyoon made the request. The two of them were puzzled by it, but they turned off their lights. Soon, darkness once again descended in the labyrinth.

“… It's as I expected. I can't see you guys.”

“Isn’t that a given since there’s no light?”

From the other side of the darkness, Sungyoon heard Chelsea’s voice. However, McGregor quickly picked up on what Sungyoon meant.

“I see. The magical energy controller is more of a magical energy suppressor. It might actually be a magical energy eliminator.”

“Ah!”

Finally, Chelsea also understood.

Connectors didn’t see their surroundings through light within the labyrinths. They received information through magical energy.

Since Sungyoon, a Connector, couldn’t see Chelsea and McGregor in the darkness, it meant there was no magical energy around the two of them.

The cause of this phenomenon had to be the magic controller.

“Ha-haht! We got a piece of data real quick!”

McGregor sounded as if he was in a very good mood.

The party moved according to what Chelsea and McGregor wanted to do. These two moved toward the wall of the labyrinth and took out various tools from their backpacks. Then, they started tapping on the wall.

“As I’ve told you before, never damage the wall.”

Chelsea and McGregor had brought equipment to collect samples, and there was no way they could damage the wall of the labyrinth. Still, Sungyoon gave them a firm warning.

“How about a little bit?”

“No. If the Golem shows up, we won’t be able to protect you. There is a chance that our party might be wiped.”

Sungyoon ruthlessly turned down Chelsea’s request. Sungyoon’s party had become much stronger from the time when they had last faced the Golem. Despite this fact, Sungyoon had no confidence that they could win against the Golem.

“Mmm. It can’t be helped.”

McGregor sounded disappointed, but it seemed he had accepted Sungyoon’s advice. The two researchers were much more careful in their actions afterward.

They really had brought all kinds of equipment. Sungyoon had offered to put their equipment in his storage Gem, but the two of them had firmly turned down his offer. Sungyoon realized it would be very annoying for him and the two researchers if he had to continuously bring out the equipment the researchers needed from the storage Gem.

“This is just a regular rock.”

McGregor sounded a bit disappointed.

“Did you expect to find something amazing this early on?”

Chelsea and McGregor slowly moved alongside the wall. If there was any inconsistency to the wall, they used the lantern and flashlight to meticulously check it. 

After this continued for a while...

“It's here. This is what you wanted to see.”

The two researchers were so close to the wall that they could lick it. Sungyoon tapped them on their shoulder. When they turned to look, the first thing they saw was two red orbs floating in the darkness.

McGregor pointed his flashlight at it.

He saw a monster that looked like a large rat.

“Wait a moment. Is that a Big Rat?”

“Ooh-wahhhhhhh!”

The two of them sounded like they were watching a panda acting cute in a zoo.

However, the Big Rat looked like an enlarged version of a normal rat. It was a disgusting monster with rough and dirty fur, yet the two researchers looked at it as if it were a cute dog.

‘We should kill it first.’

Sungyoon turned his head. Emily and Grace were calmly watching the Big Rat.

However, Tim kept tapping his finger as if he was a junkie off his drugs.

“Do you mind taking care of it, Mr. Tim?”

“What? Don’t we have to protect the two of them?”

“We're on the 1st floor of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. Emily can protect the two of them if she wants to. It’s fine. You can go.”

Tim was usually the reliable wall of their party in fights. However, he really hated doing tedious and boring work.

He knew this about himself, and he tried to fix that aspect. However, it was a hard thing to do.

‘We probably won’t encounter anything too dangerous in the Beginner’s Labyrinth, but we have to be ready for the unexpected. I need to keep Mr. Tim engaged.’

Sungyoon needed to allow Tim to occasionally fight so that the latter could keep up his concentration.

“I’ll be right back!”

Tim twirled his ax as he charged forward.

Keeeeek!

The Big Rat ran toward Tim. Chelsea and McGregor watched with anticipation in their eyes.

It was as if the two were watching a fight where the fate of the world was on the line. They looked like customers watching the climax to a blockbuster movie.

However, this wasn’t an A film that lingered in one's mind. It wasn’t even some satisfying B film. It was an F film that made one feel regret and anger for watching it.

Kwah-jeek!

He didn’t even need to use his ax. Tim just kicked the Big Rat and stomped on its spine.

Kahhhhhhhhhhhk!

The Big Rat let out a scream of pain before it slumped on the ground.

“… That’s it?”

Chelsea looked very disappointed as she asked. Sungyoon nodded. 

“I’m not sure what you expected, but Mr. Tim is the shield of our party. Of course, he can easily take care of a Big Rat within the Beginner’s Labyrinth.”

Chelsea understood. Her head accepted it, but her heart was unable to accept it.

However, the two researchers didn’t remain disappointed. 

Soon, the Big Rat’s corpse was swept up by a light. The two researchers stared at the marvelous phenomenon occurring in front of their eyes.

When the light covered the entirety of the Big Rat’s body, the corpse disappeared. A small moonstone was left behind.

“… So that's how the moonstone appears.”

McGregor and Chelsea immediately moved to the site.

“This really is amazing. What causes this phenomenon? The Behemoth that appeared in England didn’t leave any moonstone behind. Does it happen because of the special environment of the labyrinth? Or was London’s Behemoth different than the type of Behemoth found in the labyrinth?”

McGregor kept asking himself questions. Sungyoon’s party let him be. They really had no desire to approach McGregor and Chelsea at that moment.

***

The party continued to head downward.

However, this didn’t mean they were moving at a rapid pace.

Chelsea and McGregor wanted to investigate every inch of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. So their investigation took a long time. The two looked like students self-learning from textbooks, and the students that studied hard without getting good grades.

Despite this fact, Sungyoon and his party were patient with them. 

Something important might come from their slow research.

However, nothing remarkable was found even when they reached the 5th floor.

“We found nothing today.”

McGregor sighed as he got in his blanket.

The excitement of entering the labyrinth had lasted only a moment. As time passed, they found nothing, and McGregor became very disappointed.

It seemed he thought he would be able to find many amazing discoveries just by entering the labyrinth. 

“If there was something special here, we would have heard rumors about it.”

Chelsea grumbled as she admitted that she had greatly underestimated this venture.

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