Chapter 184

The 2nd floor of the Great Labyrinth was the plateau. Sungyoon’s party had been an irresistible force until they had reached this point in the Great Labyrinth. But then, a new type of monster had stalled the progress of the party. It was the flying monsters. 

Sungyoon’s party had accomplished so much in a short amount of time, so Sungyoon thought this would be a time of self-reflection and examination. Therefore, he thought they would spend a long time here.

Unlike his expectations, the plateau on the 2nd floor couldn't stop the party’s progress for long.

Puh-uhk!

The Four-Winged Vultures descended at a steep angle.

The sound of them cutting through the wind was terrifying to hear.

However, Sungyoon’s party wasn't the same version of themselves from their previous visit.

Sungyoon held his halberd, and he threw it toward the monster diving at him. One of the Four-Winged Vultures was pretty close to Sungyoon, so it desperately flapped its wings to change its direction. 

Sungyoon unsummoned then resummoned his halberd. He ran toward the monster.

Even if it had dived at a steep angle, flapping the wings had killed most of the monster's speed.

It had descended far enough to almost touch the ground.

“Hoohp!”

Sungyoon swung his halberd. He easily cut down the monster flying just above the ground.

Kah-ahhhhhhhhhhh!

The other Four-Winged Vultures realized that they couldn’t win through a straightforward fight, so they started to flap their wings to gain altitude.

Sungyoon reversed his grip on the halberd and threw it again.

Kwah-jeek!

Ggweh-ehhhhhhhk!

A Four-Winged Vulture had been unable to accelerate and reach maximum speed. The halberd squarely pierced through its body.

‘That’s two.’

After reducing the number of foes, Sungyoon immediately ran toward his party.

Tim was protecting Emily and Grace. In the past, he had been unable to keep up with the movements of the Four-Winged Vultures. But this was no longer the case.

“You bastards!”

Tim spun in place. A Four-Winged Vulture was about to attack Grace and Emily, but Tim swung the corner of his shield toward the monster.

Ggee-eeeeeeeeek!

The monster desperately tried to dodge, but in the end, Tim’s shield struck one of its wings.

Crunch!

Tim was already strong. However, his new Gems had increased his strength and speed. The Four-Winged Vultures were innately low on defense and high on offense. There was no way Tim's attack could be blocked.

As the bones in its wing were crushed, the Four-Winged Vulture fell to the floor.

Kwah-jeek!

Tim brought down his steel boot.

The monster trembled on the ground, and then, Tim squashed it on the ground. Even as he did so, Tim perfectly defended against the other Four-Winged Vultures with his ax and shield.

At that moment, Sungyoon charged in.

Suh-guhk!

He cleanly cut down a Four-Winged Vulture that was solely focused on Tim, Emily, and Grace.

When Sungyoon intruded into the fight, the monsters desperately tried to gain altitude. However, Sungyoon and Tim wouldn’t let them run away. In a flash, they cut down the nearby monsters. 

The party supplemented each other’s shortcomings as they defeated all the Four-Winged Vultures that had descended from the skies to attack them.

“We killed a lot of them all at once.”

It was as Grace had said. The party had been fighting against a large flock of Four-Winged Vultures.

The party had defeated a total of eight monsters. In the past, they had a hard time dealing with fewer numbers. They had barely won against five Four-Winged Vultures. This signified that they had taken tremendous strides forward in their powers.

After they collected the moonstones, the party started to move once again. The grass on the plateau was short, and the winds unique to plain brushed past them.

They could hear beasts let out cries into the night for no apparent reason.

The land wasn’t flat as they climbed and descended large rolling hills.

When Sungyoon reached the top of a hill, he used his sight-enhancing magic to look at his surroundings.

He could see monsters all over. For a brief moment, Sungyoon mulled over where they should go.

However, he didn’t have to worry for long.

“Monsters are coming.”

Sungyoon looked down at the base of the hill. His party members followed his gaze.

Huge monsters similar in appearance to cats were running toward them. These monsters were jet black.

“It is the Quick Black Pumas.”

Sungyoon closely watched the pack as he spoke.

“We got company from above too.”

When Grace spoke, the party looked up at the sky. They could see five Four-Winged Vultures circling them.

It looked like the unique monsters of the Great Labyrinth would be attacking them in concert.

Sungyoon furrowed his brows. Both the Quick Black Pumas and the Four-Winged Vultures had high mobility.

They were quick and agile. Moreover, it would cause a big headache if they simultaneously attacked from the land and the sky. 

“Let’s kill those first.”

Sungyoon pointed at the Four-Winged Vultures.

“Ms. Grace?”

“Understood.”

Grace quickly got an accurate picture of what Sungyoon wanted her to do. She raised her staff into the sky.

Kwah-jee-jeek!

Lightning erupted from her staff. It was a frightening sight. Since her party members had experienced this spell before, they were ready to close their eyes and cover their ears.

“I’ll shoot it now!”

After she yelled out those words, Grace activated her spell.

Flash!

She could cast it much faster than before, and of course, it was more powerful.

Rumble!

The sound of thunder shook the sky after the lightning was shot. When the light and sound disappeared, the party looked up at the sky.

“The power of your spell has significantly increased.”

In the past, this spell had shot down only two Four-Winged Vultures. This time, it erased four of them. One of the Four-Winged Vulture was still flying in the air, but it was so hurt that it could barely stay in the air.

“Shall I kill them too?”

It seemed Grace was overjoyed by the fact that her spell had become stronger. She looked at the Quick Black Pumas as she shook her staff toward them.

However, Sungyoon turned down her offer.

“No. We have to save your spells.”

Sungyoon looked up. The last Four-Winged Vulture was very hurt, but it continued to dive at the party.

Sungyoon looked down the hill once again. As expected of monsters with ‘Quick’ in their name, the Quick Black Pumas were as fast as advertised.

However, it seemed the Four-Winged Vulture would arrive faster than the Quick Black Pumas.

Sungyoon raised his halberd.

Hweeek!

When the flying monster entered his range, he threw his halberd. The Four-Winged Vulture tried to dodge, but it couldn’t maneuver its body. It was too wounded.

Puh-uhk!

The spear blade of the halberd pierced through its body.

“Let’s try facing those guys now.”

Sungyoon raised his sword and shield.

The Quick Black Pumas were incredibly large.

They were over 1.7 m tall. Even though they had a large body, they could still move at incredibly high speeds. It was a very dangerous combination.

Koo-ahhhhhhhhhng!

The very first one of them to reach the party swung its paw. Tim calmly stepped forward and blocked its attack.

Boom!

Its front paw landed on his shield, yet Tim didn’t budge. In fact, Tim even moved his shield forward to threaten the monster. He also kept another Quick Black Puma at bay on his right with his ax.

These monsters were really agile. They kept moving around Tim in order to attack him from his side. They also constantly moved to attack Emily and Grace.

However, Tim's movements were much better than before. His agility had risen, so he was able to block all their attacks.

Sungyoon rushed forward from behind Tim.

Koo-ahhhhhhng!

The Quick Black Puma was overjoyed when its prey presented itself in front of it. The monster opened its mouth wide as it tried to bite Sungyoon to pieces. But Sungyoon shoved his sword into its mouth.

Kwehhhhhk!

The flesh inside its mouth was tender. The sword parted flesh as lightning erupted from Sungyoon's sword, and the Quick Black Puma’s eyes rolled backward.

Sungyoon summoned his shield to block another one of the monsters attacking from the side. Then he resummoned his sword to face off against his next foe.

When Sungyoon swung his sword, the Quick Black Puma jumped backward. At that exact moment, Sungyoon summoned and threw his halberd. The monster desperately dodged the weapon, but Sungyoon didn’t give it a chance to get its feet under itself. He caught up to it and swung his sword.

Suh-guhk!

The tough leather resisted against the attack, but Sungyoon didn’t have too much difficulty decapitating the Quick Black Puma.

After killing two of them, Sungyoon immediately went back to Tim. Tim was doing very well in keeping the two remaining Quick Black Pumas occupied.

Sungyoon attacked these Quick Black Pumas from the rear, while Tim took a step forward to match Sungyoon’s actions. They pinched the monsters on both sides, and it didn’t take them too long to kill all the Quick Black Pumas.

“I would have had so much difficulty with this fight not too long ago.”

Tim was blown away by his own self. He was a strength-based Connector, so he hated facing agile monsters like the Quick Black Pumas. If it wasn’t for the Gems he had recently acquired, he probably wouldn’t have been able to keep up with multiple monsters. The Quick Black Pumas would have attacked him from his rear. 

“It doesn’t matter. You can kill them pretty easily now.”

“You're right.”

Tim sounded a bit proud as he answered Sungyoon.

“Then that is all that matters. We’ll perform better from here on out.”

Tim had been slow before. The fact that he could keep up with a Quick Black Puma was a big boon to their party.

Sungyoon praised Tim as he went to check for moonstones.

“A Gem dropped.”

Sungyoon picked up the Gem next to the moonstone. The wedge-shaped Gem let out a silver light.

It was a Silver rank weapon. It was the most bottom rank Jewel Gem weapon, but it was still a Jewel rank Gem weapon. 

It hadn’t been that long since the party had acquired many Jewel rank Gems, yet they had now acquired another one. It was a reason for celebration.

Sungyoon took the Gem to his party.

“What kind of Gem is it?”

Grace asked with curious eyes.

Sungyoon had acquired a new Brooch type Device. He equipped the new Gem in his Silver Universal slot and activated it.

A large hammer appeared in Sungyoon’s hands.

The handle was engraved with elegant shapes, and it was made out of sturdy metal. One side of the hammerhead was flat, and the other side had multiple sharp spikes.

At a glance, one could tell that it wasn’t a hammer used for construction. It was a war hammer made for battle.

“Mr. Sungyoon can use it right away.”

When she found out what the Gem was, Grace spoke. The Ross siblings also nodded.

“I’ll do so.”

Sungyoon didn’t say much as he took the Gem for himself.

Normally, Sungyoon wouldn’t use a hammer type weapon. It was a weapon more suited for Tim. However, Tim already had a Jewel rank ax. 

Moreover, Tim couldn’t switch between weapons like Sungyoon. So naturally, Sungyoon took possession of the hammer.

It also helped that Sungyoon had given up his rights to purchase Jean’s Gems. That was one of the reasons why his party members were willing to give him the Gem.

“Let’s start moving again.”

Sungyoon’s fighting power had increased, so the party decided to move forward. They killed all the monsters they encountered in short order.

Sungyoon mixed the hammer into his fights, and he was satisfied with how it performed. As expected, the weapon did well against monsters with hard outer skins.

The party spent the next several days in the plateau hunting the monsters.

They finally found the entrance to the cave leading to the next floor.

“Are you ready?”

Sungyoon's party members gave their approval at his question.

All of them left behind the rough winds of the plateau and disappeared into the dark cave.

***

As they got closer to the entrance of the cave on the other side, the temperature precipitously dropped.

They breathed out white mist, and all of them hunched over from the cold.

After they exited the entrance, they were greeted with the overwhelming white color of the snowy field, the extremely cold wind, and snow falling from the sky.

“This is the 3rd floor of the Great Labyrinth. It is the snowy field.”

Sungyoon watched the sight of snow falling from the sky.

“Ooh. It's cold.”

Grace grumbled as she re-adjusted her clothes. Unlike Grace, Tim and Emily looked more comfortable. It had probably something to do with the temperature difference between England and Canada.

Sungyoon felt very cold too, but he could withstand it. He had prior knowledge of this place, so he had worn thick clothes. Moreover, Korea was very cold during the winter, so he was also used to this atmosphere.

‘Thankfully, the armor doesn’t turn cold.’

If the armor felt the effects of the weather, his skin would stick to the metal. He would get ice burns.

Sungyoon left footprints on the clean snow. Many Connectors had traversed this entrance, but the constant snow had deleted all their traces. Nothing from the past was left behind.

“Let’s go.”

At Sungyoon’s words, the party started to slowly move forward. Their visibility was low because of the constantly falling snow, so the party was cautious with each step they took.

Puh-suhk!

Their good hearing soon caught a sound that was completely different from that of a foot coming down on the snow. Something was approaching them.

The monster looked large, fat, and dangerous. Since their visibility was low, the party discovered the monster only when it got close to them.

“It's an Ice Bear.”

The monster was shaped like a bear, and its white fur was coated in frost. Its red eyes contrasted well with its white fur. 

The Ice Bear plowed through the snow as it ran toward the party.

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