Chapter 183

‘Fear.’

Sungyoon chewed on that word after Hyunwoo left. He went over his memories, but he couldn’t find a clear instance where he had felt fear.

He lightly rubbed at his chest.

However, he couldn’t worry over it for too long. Another guest came knocking.

“Who is it?”

Emily, who had gone out to greet the guest, asked the question. The visitor was a middle-aged man who looked very fit. It seemed he had worked out a lot when he was younger.

“Is this the lodging of Jungbum?”

“Yes. That's correct.”

“Then you must be Ms. Emily Ross.”

Wariness appeared in Emily’s eyes.

The middle-aged man then took out a business card. 

“This is who I work for.”

Emily’s eyes turned round when she read the business card.

The consulate general of Russia had come calling.

“May I enter?”

“P... please wait a moment.”

Emily quickly went inside. It seemed she wanted to discuss the next steps with her party members.

The Consulate General was well at ease as he waited.

He didn't have to wait long. The door opened once again, and a large man appeared from within the building. Tim invited him inside.

“Please come in.”

“Please excuse me.”

The Consulate General entered the house.

He did a quick scan of his surroundings. It wasn’t that great of a house.

This building was suitable for Connectors affiliated with a middle-tier company. But the Consulate General hadn't expected London’s Knight to reside in such a house.

Sungyoon and his party greeted him. The Consulate General’s gaze remained on Sungyoon for a brief moment.

This was the second time today that Sungyoon had to prepare a beverage for his guest. He served the coffee and sat down across the Consulate General. Sungyoon then looked at him as if trying to discern why the man had come here.

“What brings you here?”

Sungyoon didn’t bother with diplomatic rhetoric in order to put the other man at ease and went straight to the point. However, it seemed the Consulate General didn’t mind this approach. He revealed why he had come here.

“We would like to scout you, Mr. Woo.”

Grace, who had been sitting next to Sungyoon, sucked in her breath.

Sungyoon responded calmly.

“Are you asking me to go to your country and become naturalized?”

“I could ask for nothing more if you would do that. However, you have turned down similar offers from England and other countries. I doubt you’ll go along with such a request.”

“Then what are you asking of me?”

“You probably know this, but we are building a new Lunar city.”

Sungyoon nodded.

“We would like you to move your base of operation from Armstrong to our city.”

“You're aiming for a publicity stunt.”

Grace spoke.

The violence that had broken out in Armstrong had allowed China and Russia to smoothly launch their plan for building a new Lunar city.

However, it wasn’t enough. Since their city was still new, it needed an advantage over Armstrong. In such a situation, Sungyoon was a chess piece that sounded very attractive, for he was currently the most famous Connector on Earth.

If he moved his base of operations to the new Lunar city, its promotional effect on the city would shoot up through the roof.

It seemed the Consulate General had no intention of hiding their plan.

“That’s right. Of course, you’ll be compensated for the move.”

The Consulate General then looked around the house in an exaggerated manner. It was clear that he was assessing the house.

“You're living in a small house compared to your fame. I’m sure Armstrong is charging an exorbitant amount for you to rent this place out.”

He then let out a bright smile.

“First, we will gift you a house in our city. It’ll be your house. You don't have to pay rent to the city. In fact, you can rent out the place if you so desire. Of course, the house will be several dozen times better than this place.”

It was a surprising offer. In Armstrong, there were no real estate transactions. One could only rent. 

The offer didn’t end there.

“Moreover, we will allow you to invest in the city. Honestly speaking, many parties are interested in investing in the city that we will build. They have smelled the opportunity to make money. Countries, companies, and wealthy individuals are constantly calling us about investing in the city. However, we can’t allow everyone to invest. An investment means rights to a part of the city. Every additional investment means we lose part of the pie. However, we are willing to let you become a shareholder.”

Basically, Sungyoon would be given the opportunity to buy a stake in the city. It meant he would be part of a group like the one that ruled Armstrong. He would be one of the higher-ups in the second Lunar city.

‘I’m sure they won’t sell me enough to have a great influence in the city.’

However, Sungyoon would gain many rights and interests through that move. The Moon only had two cities, and Sungyoon could get a piece of the action in one of the cities. It was a very lucrative offer.

“I’m going to be honest. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the Connectors are exploited by Armstrong city. This city doesn’t properly appreciate the abilities of Connectors. They do not appreciate the sacrifices you make. The reason they can do that is simple. They have no competition. If Connectors want to improve their status, the second city needs to be a success. It’ll allow Connectors to gain leverage.”

‘He’s coming at it from a logical point of view.’

Many Connectors were unsatisfied with how Amstrong treated them. 

In some ways, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the newly built city a land of opportunity for the Connectors.

“Of course, we’ll allow Korea to make a significant amount of investments into the city. Korea was late coming into raiding the labyrinths. That's why they do not have many rights within Armstrong. We are well aware of this fact. 

‘He is trying to tap into my patriotism.’

It seemed the Consulate General had made a significant amount of preparation for this meeting. However, Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.

“I'm thankful for the offer, but I’ll have to turn it down.”

“May I know the reason behind your decision?”

As expected of an experienced diplomat, he was calm with his question.

“I have to clear the Great Labyrinth of Armstrong.”

“We discovered another Great Labyrinth near where our city will be built.”

“It can't be that Great Labyrinth. It has to be the Great Labyrinth of Armstrong.”

The Consulate General’s expression didn’t change when Sungyoon gave a firm answer. However, he thought this was a debacle.

He had observed Sungyoon’s words and expression and discerned the great resolve behind Sungyoon’s words. It would be very difficult to change his mind.

Sungyoon didn’t budge even when money, honor, and patriotism were all mentioned. It seemed he wanted something that could be only offered by Armstrong’s Great Labyrinth.

The Consulate General's superiors had put in a lot of effort in order to scout Sungyoon. He sighed at the thought of having to explain his failure.

“That really is too bad. But if you change your mind, please contact us.”

The Consulate General handed his business card to Sungyoon. Then he looked at the rest of the party.

I’ve only been speaking to Mr. Woo until now, but the offer is valid to all of you. Would any of you like to join us?”

The first one to shake his head from side to side was Tim.

“We're Sungyoon’s party.”

Tim almost worshipped Sungyoon. There was no way he would leave him.

It was the same for Emily. She nodded to indicate that she felt the same way as Tim.

There was only one person left. When the Consulate General’s gaze landed on Grace, she smiled.

“Do you really think I’ll agree to join you?”

“Not at all.”

The Consulate General stood up.

“It has been nice meeting you. Our offer will always remain open. If you are interested, please contact us at any time. I’ll leave with this warning. The profit you can gain from this deal diminishes as time passes.”

As a last-ditch effort, he gave a little threat before leaving.

***

After they entertained two separate guests, Sungyoon’s party headed toward the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

Since they had acquired high-rank Gems, they had to familiarize themselves with the new Gems before going into the Great Labyrinth.

However, they couldn’t gain entry into the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

A large steel fence had been erected in front of the entrance, and several people guarded it. 

Some Connectors complained to the guards about not being able to enter the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

“… We should have expected this. Of course they would seal it off considering what happened.”

Sungyoon mumbled.

What if some idiot messed with the labyrinth again? Armstrong would be razed to the ground once again.

Moreover, they now had a rival city, whose slogan said that they were the safer city.  

Still, this action by Armstrong city felt a bit too little, too late.

The guards shouted at the Connectors that they were making a new Beginner’s Labyrinth outside the city. They told the Connectors to be patient.

“What should we do? Should we go to the Great Labyrinth? Or should we go to one of our Personal Labyrinths?”

Grace asked for Sungyoon’s opinion.

“Let’s immediately head toward the Great Labyrinth. We can experiment a little bit in the grasslands.”

“Do you think they shuttered the Great Labyrinth too?”

“There is no way they would do that.”

Sungyoon allayed Emily’s worries.

“The Beginner’s Labyrinth can be replicated in other labyrinths. But there can be no replacement for the Great Labyrinth for Armstrong city. In fact, they might encourage Connectors to go to the Great Labyrinth instead, because it might help them find answers to the mysteries of the labyrinths.”

“Then let’s hurry up and go!”

Tim snorted like an impatient horse and a child who had acquired new toys. He really wanted to test out the powers of his newly-acquired Gems.

“Let’s do that.”

Sungyoon's party turned around and walked straight toward the Great Labyrinth.

***

The green grassland and the blue skies were the hallmarks of the 1st floor of the Great Labyrinth. However, this beautiful scenery was home to some monsters. These hidden monsters were a great threat to the safety of Connectors.

However, these very monsters were being rolled at that moment.

Kah-ahk!

The Brutal Worm flew through the air with its creepy mouth open. It was targeting Tim.

“Ha-ahhhhht!”

Tim took it head-on as he roughly swung his shield.

Kwahhhng!

Kwehhhhk!

The Brutal Worm’s body was sent flying. Tim had never displayed such immense strength before.

“Ms. Grace!”

Sungyoon called out. Grace turned her head and saw five Mad Dogs running toward the party in the distance.

She raised her staff.

Kwahhhhhng!

An enormous explosion erupted between the Mad Dogs. Intense heat burned the grassland, and the blackened remains of the Mad Dogs were sent flying into the surroundings.

This spell was the Flame magic that Grace liked to use. But her activation speed had now become twice as fast, and the power of her spell had also doubled.

Duhp-suhk!

A Brutal Worm used this opportunity to bite Tim’s leg. However, its teeth couldn’t penetrate Tim's newly-acquired armor.

Kwah-doohk!

Tim stepped on the head of the Brutal Worm, which let out a scream as it fell back. Tim’s ax chased after it and split apart the Brutal Worm’s face.

“Ha! This is amazing!”

Tim used his foot to tap at the region where the Brutal Worm had tried to bite.

It had been a monster that resided within the Great Labyrinth that bit the armor, yet nothing had happened. Tim was normally the shield of his party, so he was extremely satisfied with the result.

However, someone else became dissatisfied with his action.

“Do you have a death wish!”

Emily hit her brother with her staff.

However, Tim’s armor was too sturdy. Of course, the staff wouldn’t work against the armor.

Tim grinned as he answered her.

“I have to see how sturdy this armor is. Also, if I did lose my leg, you can reattach it again.”

Emily had acquired a very powerful healing Gem.

It was as Tim had said. The new Gem's healing ability was so powerful that Emily could reattach or regrow a limb if she wanted to.

“It isn’t something that should be used lightly! I can use it only a couple of times, and the cooldown is really long!”

As expected of a powerful healing Gem, there were onerous restrictions to the Gem.

Sungyoon watched the siblings bicker with each other. Then he turned to look at Grace.

“How was it, Ms. Grace?”

“The power of my spell was greatly enhanced, and the activation speed became faster too. It really is good.”

Jean Fajardo was a close-range fighter, so his Gems were optimized towards close-range combat, healing magic, and support magic that boosted his healing magic.

Tim had picked the Gems related to close-range combat. Emily had bought the Gems related to healing. And Grace had purchased the magic support Gem that Jean had used to boost his healing magic.

Everyone was satisfied with how the Gems were distributed.

Since they were now well acquainted with their newly-acquired Gems, they no longer needed to stay in the grasslands.

“Well, everyone...”

Sungyoon swept his gaze over his party.

“Let’s break through the plateau this time.”

His party members nodded in a confident manner.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter