Chapter 185

The party didn’t need any instructions as they got into formation. Tim raised his shield while stepping forward, and Sungyoon stood diagonally to the back of Tim. 

Emily and Grace prepared their spells. This was their first time fighting this monster, so they went at it by the books.

Grace prepared her attack spells and Emily prepared her support magic.

“I’m shooting it!”

Thanks to the Gem that assisted her magic, Grace could cast her spell faster than Emily.

An enormous fireball shot toward the monster. It melted the nearby snow as a red streak reached the monster.

Boom!

The red pillar of flame landed on the Ice Bear, which had been charging at the party.

Flames swirled around the monster and melted all the nearby snow. Slush spread everywhere.

Emily followed up with her support magic. The physical abilities of Sungyoon and Tim were buffed.

The party was tense as they waited for their enemy to charge out of the flame.

However, nothing ran at them even as the flame dissipated.

Sungyoon’s party slowly moved toward the location where the spell had detonated. They found that the maelstrom of fire had blown all the snow away, and the frozen ground was revealed. At the site of the detonation, all they could see was a pretty deep puddle.

Everyone went silent. They could sense the heat coming out of the puddle, and the water was so clear that they could see the bottom of the puddle. A moonstone was resting atop the white frozen ground.

Everyone turned to look at Grace.

“Ah. I… I read most of the monsters in the snowy fields are weak to fire magic. That's why I sent a fire spell. Still, I didn’t know this would happen!”

When her party members looked at her with lukewarm gazes, Grace yelled out in protest. The three of them were not truly criticizing her, so they let the subject go. They turned their head back to the deep puddle.

“Would anyone like to fish out that moonstone?”

Sungyoon asked, but no one volunteered.

It was a moonstone that had dropped within the Great Labyrinth, so it was worth a lot of money. However, a single moonstone wouldn’t make or break anyone in Sungyoon’s party.

Above all else, the weather was the biggest problem.

Anyone that went into the water would likely feel miserable in this cold place. The probability of the person being affected negatively was too high.

Of course, Sungyoon's Storage Gem had towels and spare clothes, but the party had to hunt for a prolonged period in the snowy plains.

Would it be worth it to suffer the negative consequences to retrieve the Ice Bear’s moonstone? Of course not.

“Let’s just go.”

The other three members of his party nodded all at once when they heard Sungyoon’s words.

They left behind the newly-formed puddle and roamed around the snowy plain. However, they never strayed far from the entrance. When they felt like they traveled too far, they retraced their steps using their footprints on the snow, then they went toward a different direction. This went on and on.

The floor didn't have any signposts, and everything looked and felt the same. Getting lost would be easy in this place. Unlike the other floors, the Connectors could even freeze to death here.

‘The cold is more dangerous than the monsters.’

Sungyoon glanced at his comrades. It was clear that they were suffering under the cold weather. This was especially true for Grace.

“Mr. Sungyoon!”

“Yes. I saw them.”

When Tim called out to him, Sungyoon focused his gaze.

He saw some creatures hanging back at a certain spot in the distance. Their large figures and blue furs moved in the wind. They looked similar to canines.

These monsters were the Frost Wolves.

As a single unit, they couldn’t be compared to the Ice Bear, but according to the information the party possessed, these monsters moved in packs. The information held true, as the party could see at least six Frost Wolves.

So, the Connectors once again got into their battle formation, and Sungyoon turned to look at Grace. Grace nodded and started to prepare her spell.

The buffs placed on Sungyoon and Tim hadn’t run out yet, so Emily had nothing to do right now.

Pah-jee-jee-jeek!

This time, Grace prepared the lightning spell. The monsters of the snowy plains had high resistance to Ice magic, so ice spells wouldn’t be effective against them. And Grace had seen the result of her fire magic earlier herself. So, the lightning spell was the obvious choice.

Rumble!

Powerful electricity shot forward. The lightning struck the Frost Wolves.

Kahhhhhng!

The Frost Wolves screamed. However, their screams were drowned out by the sound of thunder.

The lightning had passed through the pack and left behind two blackened remains. 

Four monsters were still left. Tim moved to the front.

Puh-uhk!

Kang!

His shield smashed the Frost Wolf baring its teeth at him, and the monster was sent flying. As always, Tim tried to occupy as many monsters as he could.

“It's so cold!”

Tim yelled out. As expected of monsters with ‘Frost’ in its name, cold air swirled around these monsters' bodies.

The temperature dropped further when Tim got close to the Frost Wolves, but he didn’t back down.

As always, Sungyoon rushed past Tim. However, he furrowed his brows in short order.

‘The snow is interfering with my mobility.’

His feet kept falling into the snow, and the slippery patches on the ground limited his movements. On the other hand, the Frost Wolves freely ran atop the snow.

This was typical of the Great Labyrinth, where the environment could be hostile toward the Connectors.

Sungyoon was careful as he kept his balance. He attacked the Frost Wolves.

A fierce battle ensued for a short time. The snow was kicked up into the air as Sungyoon's weapons sliced through the falling snow.

The snowfields caused a lot of trouble for the party, yet they killed all the Frost Wolves.

After they picked up the moonstones, they continued to move forward. In the process, they met another Ice Bear.

Sungyoon and the Ross siblings naturally looked toward Grace.

Grace’s face had turned red.

This time, she didn’t use her magic, and the party defeated the Ice Bear through other ways.

“This seems to be the level of the snowy fields.”

After killing several more monsters, Sungyoon spoke.

“In terms of the level of the monsters, this floor is similar to the 2nd floor. However, this damn snow is making everything very difficult.”

Tim complained. He stomped on the snow to express his annoyance.

Everyone was having a hard time maintaining their footing, but it was especially detrimental to Tim. His great defense required his feet had to be rooted to the ground as if they were roots to a tree.

“Still, you are doing well. We believe in you, Mr. Tim.”

“Yes. Please don’t worry about it. I’m just voicing my frustration.”

Sungyoon was like a trainer. Emily and Grace had the same thought when they saw Sungyoon soothing Tim in a skillful manner.

It happened at that moment. The nearby magical energy shook in a violent manner.

Woo-oong!

The magical energy had been churning like turbulent waves all this time, but now, it started to move like a typhoon. The four of them were familiar with this phenomenon.

Tim immediately raised his shield. Emily and Grace hid behind him, and they prepared their spells. Sungyoon was tense as he raised his sword.

Sssk!

A light appeared. It was the light that summoned a monster.

The Great Labyrinth was in a constant state of Mana Stream, so of course, the party expected such a thing to happen here.

As the light disappeared, a large monster appeared.

“That's...”

Sungyoon’s eyes turned round. Everyone else was surprised too.

This monster resembled a monkey. Its fur was black, and its eyes were red. The only unique thing about it was the fact that flames burned out at various parts of its body.

“Flame Monkey.”

This monster should have appeared several floors below. However, this wasn’t out of the ordinary.

In the first place, the labyrinth didn’t decide where the monsters appeared. 

The monsters separated themselves depending on how strong or weak they were. Their attribute also determined which environment they preferred. 

Kyah-ahk!

The Flame Monkey revealed its canines as it threatened the party. However, the situation looked odd. The monster didn’t look threatening at all.

“Huh! It's threatening us while shivering like that?”

Tim sounded baffled. It was as he said. The Flame Monkey was trembling.

It wasn’t trembling because it was scared. It was just feeling cold.

“Let’s think of it in a positive manner. We can experience fighting a monster that will appear several floors down.”

Sungyoon threw in one more comment.

“We get to face it in this awesome environment.”

The snowy plains was a hostile environment for Sungyoon’s party, but this was doubly true for the Flame Monkey.

The heat from the Flame Monkey’s body melted the snow around it, and the monster was ankle-deep in melted water. It tried to hop out, but it was surrounded by a field of snow. Whenever the monster hopped to another spot, the snow would melt again. The process kept repeating.

“… Let’s just end its misery.”

As if he were bored with the comedy skit playing in front of him, Sungyoon spoke. Soon, the party charged at the Flame Monkey.

***

The party spent several days at a time in the snowy plains. The cold continued to hamper their progress. It became a real problem when they had to sleep. Thankfully, someone had built an igloo in the Magical Void, so the party could avoid freezing to death while they slept.

However, they did come out to the still-damaged Armstrong city from time to time after they spent a lot of time within the Great Labyrinth. They took a short break before heading back into the Great Labyrinth. They continued acquiring more moonstones and experience in the Great Labyrinth.

Days and weeks passed like this, and it was time for Sungyoon to return to Earth.

Since the monsters could appear on Earth now, high-rank Connectors had to return to Earth twice a year. And it was now Sungyoon's and Grace's turn to go down.

Since the Ross siblings didn’t hold much sway with their government, they couldn't get their schedule to match with Sungyoon and Grace. The siblings were scheduled to go back to Earth a month later.

***

“I called you on such short notice because I heard Mr. Sungyoon is going back down to Earth.”

Chelsea sat next to him. She winked as she continued speaking.

“I heard you came over to the research facility because you were worried about me?”

“I did.”

After the incident in Armstrong, Sungyoon had gone to the research facility to check up on Chelsea. Thankfully, the research facility was unharmed, and Sungyoon had received news that Chelsea was safe.

However, the research facility had been in a state of disorder, so it had been impossible for him to meet Chelsea.

This was the reason Chelsea had called out Sungyoon when she heard he was getting ready to return to Earth.

“You were worried about me. The least I can do is say goodbye face to face.”

“How did you know I was heading down?”

“I coincidently saw the Korean news. The newscaster said Mr. Sungyoon will be back soon.”

It seemed the press had found out about Sungyoon’s return date.

The two of them were sitting on a bench at a park, and each held a fragrant cup of coffee. Chelsea was the one who had given Sungyoon the coffee.

Of course, she hadn’t bought it. She had received the coffee as part of rations from her research facility, and she had brought it here in a thermos.

Sungyoon and Chelsea then discussed various topics, and one particular story drew Sungyoon's interest.

“They are banning Connectors from entering Armstrong city?”

“Yes. Any Connectors who move their base of operations to the other Lunar city will be barred from entering Armstrong city. It's a hearsay, but my source has a friend close to the higher-ups of Armstrong. I’m pretty sure this isn't a false rumor.”

It seemed Armstrong city would do everything in its power to stunt the growth of the second Lunar city being built by China and Russia.

“It isn’t just that. They are bringing out numerous policies against the other Lunar City. They also promised better treatment of the Connectors, and they will lower the taxes on the Connectors. They’ll implement many changes from all angles.”

Sungyoon thought about the Russian consulate general, who had made the argument that the second Lunar city had to be successful if the Connectors wanted to elevate their status. It seemed he had been correct.

“Ah! The research on the ore is progressing. I’m talking about the ore we discovered in the Beginner’s Labyrinth.”

Sungyoon was very surprised by this news.

“How did you acquire it?”

“The man named Jean Fajardo had successfully brought it out.”

Even in such a dire situation, Jean had the presence of mind to take the metal. He was an incredible piece of work.

After speaking to Sungyoon a little longer, Chelsea stood up.

“I’ll be heading back now. I’m not sure if it's appropriate for me to say this, but this incident allowed us to gather numerous samples. We’ll be busy for a while. You should visit us sometimes. We have two normal Golems and a Super Golem. They will all be registered as your possessions, so you should check up on it.”

“Understood.”

This had been a beneficial meeting for Sungyoon. The two of them shook hands, then headed toward their respective lodgings.

***

Finally, it was the day when Sungyoon was returning to Earth.

He expected Jimin to bring Shinhae as always, so he was excited. He was going to meet his precious daughter after all.

Click! Click!

However, the one to greet Sungyoon at the space center first was a large group of reporters.

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