“What the hell, Russell! You're acting arrogant just because you're a bit close to him!”
“That’s right! Also, you called us old! It isn’t as if you are young either, you old codger!”
“You're the one that doesn’t act your age! I heard you got another wife who is fifty years younger than you!”
“Holy shit! Really! This bastard is a complete cradle robber!”
“Shut the hell up, you bastards! I married her because I fell in love with her!”
“Love, my ass! I bet all your wives are waiting for you to croak!”
“What did you say, asshole!”
Some exchanged insults, and some even started fistfighting each other. Others egged on the fighters. Everyone in the surrounding cackled as they watched it all unfold. Some even started using healing magic so that the fistfights could go on without any issues.
“It is quite chaotic, right?”
Sungyoon readily nodded at Russell’s words.
“Since everyone here is a high rank Connector, they’ve run into each other before. We’ve all become acquaintances. This is doubly true for those that enter the Great Labyrinth. You should think of this as a reunion party hosted by these old men.”
These Connectors called each other old, but they all looked very young. However, Sungyoon just silently took it in stride.
He then followed Russell to join the group of Connectors. Everyone in the surrounding gathered around Sungyoon.
“Do you mind if I can get your signature?”
A man with long and brown shaggy hair approached Sungyoon with a pen and a paper.
“What the hell? You're also a fan of the Knight?”
“No, it's for my granddaughter. She became enamored with him when she saw his fight in London. She barely acknowledges my presence now.”
His eyes showed a hint of jealousy. Even if he was one of the top Connectors in the world, he was merely a grandfather in front of his granddaughter.
“Ah. Me too.”
“I want one too.”
The number of papers being pushed toward Sungyoon kept increasing. The situation felt like a signing session between an idol and his fans.
“Here. You should eat a little bit.”
After the signing event that wasn’t a signing event finished, Russell insisted Sungyoon should eat and drink.
“If it were up to me, I would take out some alcohol. However, we were hired for this job, so we shouldn't do that.”
Russell turned to look at his surroundings.
“Of course, some just flat out ignore the rules.”
Russell's gaze landed at someone downing a whiskey bottle and another person drinking beer next to him.
“Or would you like to drink some alcohol?”
“I’ll drink a cola.”
Coca-cola was one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
“Yes. You did the right thing. People drink alcohol after they finish the mission to blow off steam. Unlike the bastards who live in a certain country, you shouldn’t drink alcohol before the mission starts. Those types of people are beholden to alcohol.”
“Russell! You son of a bitch! Are you trying to pick a fight!”
“Who cares! Instead, why don’t you call the Princess here! She looked really pretty on TV!”
“I’ll fucking kill all of you if you try to hit on Grace!”
Seeing Russell rage, the Connectors broke out into laughter.
‘I can see why the Director looked so despondent when he saw the behavior of the Connectors.’
Sungyoon remembered the Director complaining about high rank Connectors refusing to take pictures of the labyrinth within the magical void.
These people in front of him wouldn’t consider doing such a task just because it was annoying. It also didn’t help that the Director probably had very limited access to these high rank Connectors.
“Are you having fun?”
While Russell started a verbal fight with someone, another person sidled up next to Sungyoon, who had been sipping his coke.
‘The mayor did say he would be here.’
Sung Hyunwoo was accompanied by another Connector.
“You came here too, Mr. Jinsoo?”
“Yes, I’m someone that regularly enters the Great Labyrinth. I’m here with my sunbae to gain some experience.”
‘Do you think you're the only one to be assigned such an important mission? He recognized Hyunwoo sunbae in an instant, but when it came to me, he recognized me much later. The great Knight doesn’t think I’m worthy of his notice!’
Jinsoo had a bright smile on his face, but he was inwardly cussing out Sungyoon. Hyunwoo smirked because he could guess what Jinsoo was thinking.
“Oh oh! This friend is the Knight?”
Another person placed a hand on Hyunwoo’s shoulder and joined in on the conversation. Sungyoon had never seen this person before.
“It is nice to meet you. I'm Danny Bruce.”
Bruce had spoken to Hyunwoo without honorifics. It probably meant he was of similar age as Hyunwoo. However, his speech and attitude could give one the impression that he was a really young person.
Hyunwoo gave Sungyoon a short introduction of Bruce.
“When anyone asks who is the strongest Connector in the US, this guy is always brought up as one of the leading candidates. He's the favorite.”
“Hey, Sung. I’m not one of the leading candidates. I am the strongest in the US.”
“As you just saw, he has a very high opinion of himself.”
“I don't have a high opinion of myself. I’m just telling the truth.”
Bruce cackled as he brought a beer can to his lips.
Russell returned after he had finished the verbal fight. His face crumpled when he saw Bruce.
“You dumbass Yankee! I told you to refrain from drinking alcohol so close to a mission!”
“Tsk! The annoying knight is here.”
Bruce shrugged and turned away in an exaggerated manner. Then he started chugging the beer as if he was trying to rub it in.
A person listening to him would feel refreshed. However, Russell didn’t think so at all. The fact that his mustache kept twitching was proof that he was agitated.
In the end, Russell exploded once again. Sungyoon dumbly watched as the two men started to wrestle with each other.
“Are you surprised?”
“Most of the Connectors here are acquaintances that have drunk and talked with each other for a day at most. But these two are different. They are quite close friends. They are an odd pair since their personality differs so much.”
“Are you close to these two, Mr. Hyunwoo?”
“A little bit. However, I wouldn’t say we're friends.”
Hyunwoo picked up a beverage and gulped it. Sungyoon drank his coke as he looked at Russell and Bruce.
The wrestling match between the two men lasted a while.
Two days had passed. During that time, more Connectors had arrived, and now, thirty Connectors had gathered in the labyrinth.
“Is this everyone?”
Russell looked at his surroundings as he spoke. He was standing outside on the surface of the Moon, so he had worn a helmet to communicate with the researchers.
It was the same for the other Connectors.
The Director had put on a spacesuit, and he was standing next to Russell. He replied to Russell's question.
“Yes, it is.”
“It's smaller than I expected. Above all else, I don’t see Sergei and Phan.”
“Some Connectors are tied up with their own affairs on Earth, and some just turned down the offer. Above all else, Connectors from China, Russia, and any country with close ties to those two, chose not to participate. Sergei and Phan are part of that crowd.”
Russell sounded a bit bitter, but he loudly cleared his throat.
“Good! Ladies and gentlemen! We’ll be starting our mission!”
“Stop acting as if you are the leader, Mustache!”
“Ladies and gentlemen, my ass!”
Some of the Connectors started heckling Russell. Sungyoon had witnessed such behavior for the past two days, so he was unfazed, but the Director looked taken aback.
“Hey! Shut up, you assholes!”
“Yeah! Just cuss from the start like that!”
“Alright! Shut the fuck up!”
Russell yelled out loud, and the crowd burst out laughing.
However, the laughter lasted only a moment. It was about time to work soon, so everyone agreed to get serious. They became quiet.
It was almost unbelievable that these were the same people who had been horsing around until a moment ago.
‘This is why they are veterans.’
Even if they took things lightly as they screwed around, all of these Connectors had been raiding the Great Labyrinth way before Sungyoon had awakened as a Connector.
“Alright. For now, I’ll take command. If you have complaints, keep it to yourself. We might be on par in terms of power, but the only one qualified to lead here is me.”
As the top Connector of England and a close friend of the Queen, Russell didn’t want to embarrass himself. Therefore, he had continued his education in various subjects, unlike the other Connectors.
He knew how to command men in battle. Of course, he couldn’t compare to a professional who commanded troops for a living. However, he would be better at it than the other Connectors here.
Armstrong had thought about bringing in a professional military commanding officer before, but this commander would have no idea on how the Connectors worked and what would make them tick. Above all else, none of the high rank Connectors would take instructions from an outsider.
These Connectors were willing to be commanded by Russell because he was their peer. Also, Russell was also stronger than most of them.
“I don’t have some great plan, and I don't plan on micromanaging. We’ll call forth the Golems, and we’ll defeat them. However, you shouldn’t underestimate them. We have very little info. We have no idea where they're coming from, and we don’t know how many of them will show up. Did all of you hear about what the Knight experienced fighting these Golems?”
Everyone nodded. In the past two days, they had listened to Sungyoon’s briefing on the Golems. When it came to work, everyone acted like professionals, and there was no fooling around.
“Anyone here can go toe to toe with a normal Golem, but this won’t be the case with the Super Golem. I fought it once before. It isn’t a foe that you should underestimate. It is unknown as to why this happens, but we do have credible information that the Golems lose strength as time passes. I might have fought a weakened version of the Super Golem. If that’s true, this might get really dangerous. Please be careful and don’t let your guard down.”
When Russell thought he had done enough to emphasize the dangers of their task, he turned to look at the Director.
“We’ll start our mission, Director.”
“I look forward to your cooperation.”
Finally, the search-and-destroy mission of the Golems was going to start.
First, the Connectors moved their Moon Surface Vehicles far away from the labyrinth.
They knew that the fight could move out of the labyrinth, so they wanted to make sure there wouldn’t be any collateral damage. The Director also ordered the mobile research center to be moved.
The front of the labyrinth was empty now. The Connectors took off their helmets and entered the labyrinth.
The Director and the researchers really wanted to tag along. However, the magical energy eliminator couldn’t withstand the Mana Stream. so they had to wait outside.
The Connectors didn't go too deep. They wanted a way out if things went poorly, so all of them gathered near the entrance of the labyrinth. Everyone who possessed support magic cast several buffs over the whole group.
When Russell waved his hand, one of the Connectors wielding a Silver rank hammer stepped forward.
“First, let’s trying using the lowest Jewel rank weapon.”
Russell gave an explanation. The Director wanted to find the threshold where the wall would start to break, and Russell had agreed to his request.
The Connector swung his hammer, and a large sound rang out. However, the wall of the labyrinth wasn't damaged in the slightest.
“Hmm. It won’t break with a Silver rank weapon...”
Russell looked at the Connector who had swung his hammer.
“Did you remove all the other Gems except your weapon?”
“No, I have them all equipped. The only thing different from usual is the weapon.”
“I see. Alright. Let’s try magic this time.”
Russell gestured with his hand once more. This time, a Silver rank spell was sent at the wall, but the wall remained undamaged.
Russell looked at the Connector who had used the spell and asked the same question. The magician replied in the negative.
“At the very least, Silver rank weapons and spells have no effect on it.”
Afterward, Russell slowly raised the strength of the attacks. After silver, they went to Gold then Platinum. However, nothing happened.
‘I knew it was sturdy, but it really is impressive seeing it for myself.’
Sungyoon had been tense because the Golem could appear at any moment. However, he became surprised at how hard the wall was.
In the past, he had warned the researchers to not damage the walls with their tools. Now he realized how foolish he was.
At this level of sturdiness, normal humans would never be able to obtain a sample of the wall.
How many times did they swing it? The Connector once again swung the weapon with all his might, and this time, the result was different than before.
It was a small sound, but the Connectors had a great hearing. Everyone had clearly heard it. They looked toward the wall and then at the small piece of rock that had chipped off the wall.
The calm flow of magical energy went through a rapid change.
“It's the Mana Stream.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter