Chapter 194

In the heart of the Great Labyrinth, numerous monsters gathered around a mysterious large door.

Sitting amongst them was a mysterious robed monster. This monster gave off an ominous aura as it looked at its surroundings with a malevolent gaze.

- Mmm?

Suddenly, its four eyes flashed.

It got off from its chair and looked up toward the sky. To be precise, it looked at the ceiling. Its eyes curved like the crescent moon.

- It seems what Sung Hyunwoo said has come to pass.

The flow of magical energy had changed, and it was a change for the better.

- Ah ah! It feels a bit better now. 

Until a moment ago, this place had a suffocating aura. However, this sensation loosened a bit.

The situation was akin to what would happen if a very small hole appeared on a large mountain blocking the winds. Even though only a tiny amount of wind could pass through, it would be a welcoming change. Above all else, it meant the large mountain would be coming down in the near future.

- Kevil!

The robed monster yelled out loud.

Soon, a loud thudding sound came from the back, and something walked forward.

- What is it?

A dark and malevolent voice asked.

All the nearby monsters lowered their gazes. Monsters were usually fearless and full of hate, so their current actions were surprising.

The owner of the voice, Kevil, looked like the devil himself. It had massive wings with a thin membrane of skin, like a bat. A horn protruded from its head, and its body was covered in black needles. Its eyes were red, something unique to monsters. 

Kevil looked down at the robed monster as the latter spoke.

- Get ready. Soon, the preparation will be complete.

- Ah. That's music to my ears.

Kevil laughed in a fiendish manner.

***

After their bodies had somewhat recovered, the Connectors wondered if they should continue with their plan.

The Golems had stopped appearing, but another wall of the labyrinth had to be destroyed to check if more Golems would come out. If more Golems were to spawn, the Connectors were unsure if they could fulfill their mission without taking casualties. It was a source of worry.

However, it seemed the supply of Golems had run out. Some Connectors thought it would be a waste to pass up on this opportunity. If they stopped their mission at this point, Armstrong had no obligation to give them their promised rewards. So they considered the problem from multiple angles and discussed their next step. In the end, they decided to continue with the plan.

Most of the Connectors were stationed outside the entrance of the labyrinth. Russell, who was the commander, took several of the fastest Connectors and went inside the labyrinth.

“Alright! Hit it!”

At Russell’s command, the hammer-wielding Connector slammed his hammer into the wall.

Boom!

Pieces of the wall fell to the floor.

In a flash, everyone became ready to dash to the entrance of the labyrinth. They swiveled their heads to look at their surroundings and check for any sign of the light. 

However, nothing happened.

Russell gave another go-ahead. The Connector swung his hammer once again.

Boom!

Too-doo-dook!

This time more fragments fell down, yet the labyrinth remained quiet.

‘Can it be!’

The faces of the Connectors brightened.

At that moment….

Kyahhhhhk!

They heard a cry. The Connectors had been on edge, so they jumped in surprise and quickly turned toward the source of the noise.

“… Fucking hell!”

Someone spat out their words like a deflated balloon. The cry had come from a Slash Cat that was approaching them.

“That bastard scared the shit out of me!”

One of the Connectors rushed the monster with his weapon in hand.

No one paid attention to the fight. It was only a Slash Cat. Any Connector here could kill it in their sleep.

As expected, the angry Connector cut the Slash Cat into two.

Russell didn’t pay attention to the boring fight and left the labyrinth. As soon as he got outside, he gestured toward the tense group waiting for him.

The signal meant it was safe inside.

***

“Wow. That was really dangerous.”

The Connectors grumbled as they entered the labyrinth.

“I can see why Jean Fajardo’s team was wiped. If it was only my party going up against the Golems, we wouldn’t win either.”

The Connectors had realized that this mission had been very difficult. Their complaints were endless.

“What was it like for you when you faced off against the Super Golem?”

Bruce asked Russell, who had prior experience of fighting a Super Golem in a one-on-one battle.

“Was it similar to the ones we fought?”

“No, the Super Golems were clearly stronger this time around.”

It wasn’t just the regeneration ability. The Super Golems were stronger and faster than the one Russell had fought. 

At the very least, Russell wasn’t confident he could win in a one-on-one fight with the Super Golems here.

“Is it because they became weakened outside of the labyrinth?”

“If we look at it in simplistic terms, I’m sure that’s true. However, the Super Golems from today took thirty minutes to weaken, but the Super Golem from Armstrong city had exited the labyrinth around ten minutes before I fought it. We can conclude that the ones from today were clearly stronger.”

“Does that mean the Golems are stronger or weaker depending on the labyrinth?”

Bruce crossed his arms.

“So, the Golems from the Beginner's Labyrinth are on the weaker side.”

“I have no idea if that’s true. Maybe, some random factor caused it to weaken, and we just can’t see it right now.”

After speaking those words, Russell rejoined the group of Connectors.

Boom! Boom!

Would more Golems come out if the labyrinth was severely damaged? The Connectors pounded on the wall to test out the theory. They carried out multiple experiments. 

‘Magic and special abilities of weapons can’t destroy the walls.’

They had used all kinds of spells, and Hyunwoo had even tried striking the wall with his flame sword. Yet, the wall remained pristine.

To be precise, only weapons of Ruby rank and above could damage the wall.

‘At the very least, the walls can only be destroyed by Connectors capable of entering the Great Labyrinth.’

Gems above Platinum rank were only found in the Great Labyrinth. Moreover, Ruby rank was two ranks above Platinum rank. Aside from the Connector having great connections, only those regularly raiding the Great Labyrinth had the Gems capable of damaging the walls of the labyrinths.

‘It's only a wall, but it's very hard to break it.’

Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.

“They aren’t coming out.”

One of the Connectors mumbled. They had destroyed many walls, yet no Golems had come out.

“I believe we have successfully eliminated the Golems.”

Everyone cheered at Russell’s words.

“That means we’ll receive real estate within Armstrong?”

“That’s awesome. I really hated losing money to pay rent. I won’t ever have to worry about seeing that bill.”

They all regularly earned stupid amounts of money, but none of them liked being charged an exorbitant amount of money for rent within Armstrong.

“Don’t be too happy. The mission isn't technically over yet. At the very least, we have to check if the Golems show up again a week later.”

Contrary to his serious words, Russell also had a happy expression on his face. At the very least, the mission was a success up to this point.

***

The hunt was called off for the day. The Connectors lounged around all over the labyrinth. They just watched as the happy researchers collected the remains of the Golems and the broken pieces of the wall.

After some games of rock-paper-scissors, several people were put on guard. They were to make sure monsters didn’t sneak up on the group. The remaining Connectors did nothing.

However, this lasted only a day.

“They want us to eliminate more Golems?”

Bruce frowned. The other Connectors had the same reaction.

Russell was the one who had relayed the message, but he didn't look too happy either. However, he didn’t stray from the topic. 

“Yes. They’ll choose labyrinths that are a good distance away from the city. They want us to do this around five more times.”

“Hey, we were only contracted for only one labyrinth.”

“This isn’t mandatory. However, they’ll up the amount of real estate they’ll give to anyone who accepts this offer.”

“Is it really worth doing all this? What do they have against the Golems?”

“It seems the higher-ups never imagined the Golems to be this strong. They assumed more would show up, but they never expected this difference in power. They want to keep Armstrong safe, but they know they can’t touch the Great Labyrinth. So, at the very least, they want to eliminate the Golems in the Beginner’s Labyrinth. However, the Golems here were so much stronger. Of course, the higher-ups want to do more experiments to find out what caused the difference.”

“Kyaaahk, ptooey! Sons of bitches! We are the ones that have to put our lives on the line!”

Bruce turned to look at the other Connectors.

“What do you guys want to do? At least, it seems they’ll give us more stuff.”

Some Connectors spoke to the person beside them, while others silently pondered. However, it didn’t take too long for them to come to a consensus.

“It should be ok, right?”

All the Connectors were in the favor of doing it.

“Well, all the Golems become weak outside of the labyrinths. We just have to quickly run out of the labyrinth, and we can fight a defensive battle then. We should be relatively safe.”

“If Armstrong is willing to increase our reward, I might be willing to risk it.”

They had to put their lives on the line for this venture. Most normal Connectors would try to dodge this mission because of the high danger.

However, the Connectors here were the ones who frequented the Great Labyrinth. They had always shouldered a certain level of danger.

Above all else, real estate in Armstrong city couldn’t be purchased with money, and this plan was a way to gain more. It was worth this mission.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

Russell spoke.

“Alright. Nothing changes if we do this once more.”

“We just have to run outside and play defense.”

“I’ll go tell Armstrong that we have agreed to do it. If anyone is uncomfortable with this new mission, you can leave. It’ll be more dangerous to take along someone half-hearted.”

However, no one moved when they heard Russell’s words.

“Good! I know you search out danger for the money, you money crazed bastards! I’ll do my best to get the best deal possible for you all! I’ll scratch and claw more stuff out of them!”

“Fweet! As expected of Russell!”

“That’s our Mustache!”

Russell was sensitive to social responsibility, but even he knew that he had to use profit as a motivator for the Connectors here.

If he asked them to sacrifice themselves for the good of the world, they would never acknowledge him as their commander.

And that was how the second mission to eradicate the Golems came together. Sungyoon firmed his resolve as he stood amongst the crowd.

***

A heavy hammer pounded against the shield.

No, it wasn’t really a hammer. It was the arm of the Super Golem which was transformed into a hammer.

After agreeing to the second Golem eradication mission, the Connectors had immediately moved toward the next labyrinth.

They rested for a day. Then, they damaged the wall and ran out of the labyrinth.

At first, only one Golem appeared. The real fight started when the Super Golems started appearing in the second wave.

It really was odd to watch a battle unfold on the surface of the Moon.

Under the black space, the humans exchanged blows with the inanimate Golems. Since no sound could be transmitted, the battle was deadly but silent.

As if to contrast the silence, the Connectors and the Golems moved in a dynamic fashion. A Connector separated from his group and swung his sword at the Super Golem. The sword bounced off the hard body, but it left behind a fairly deep sword wound.

One of the Super Golem's eight arms transformed into a sharp spike and flew toward the Connector. However, a weapon came flying from a different direction and distracted the Super Golem.

A Connector with a shield stepped forward to protect the swordsman. The sword-wielding Connector rejoined the party once again.

The Connectors were facing off against the fourth Super Golem, and they were on the third wave.

Fortunately, everything played out as it had done in the previous labyrinth.

Too-hwahhhhk!

A Golem’s severed arm landed near the party. It wasn’t the arm of the Super Golem.

The swordsman hid behind the shieldman and did his best to distract the Super Golem by stabbing it from time to time. Sungyoon, who had been occupying the attention of the Super Golem, glanced at the direction where the arm had come from.

Boom! 

If a sound could be heard, that was probably the sound it would have made.

Three Connectors were going nuts amongst the group of normal Golems.

Hyunwoo’s sword burned even in space, and it was explosive. Russell’s sword was as steady as a rock as he destroyed Golems. Bruce’s gauntlets shot forward like machine guns, and he landed blows on the bodies of Golems.

Even amongst the high-rank Connectors, the three of them were top-class. They were playing with the normal Golems.

Occasionally, the Super Golems would try to attack the three Connectors, but the rest of the party kept the Super Golems distracted.

The rest of the party were less skilled than Hyunwoo, Russell, and Bruce, but all of them regularly raided the Great Labyrinth. They had the capability to keep the Super Golems away from the three of them.

However, it was impossible to completely block all the attacks of the Super Golem. Some attacks were sent toward the three.

The Super Golem was stronger than the three strongest Connectors present.

However, the three Connectors had gotten somewhat used to fighting the Super Golems. So they could easily dodge the attacks without turning their full attention away from their own fights.

Flash!

Light erupted in the rear, and lightning bolts landed on the Golems. 

The remaining Golems were stunned. Even the Super Golem, which had high magic resistance, took damage.

Too-hwahk!

This time the ground beneath the Golem erupted.

A massive amount of earth crashed down the Golems, which couldn’t shake off the effect of the lightning.

Pah-aht!

The Super Golem punched through the wave of dirt and attacked the party. 

The Connectors once again stalled for time.

Sungyoon also joined in on the fight.

He deftly blocked the attacks and tried to counterattack. He gritted his teeth as he did his best to not become a hindrance to the other Connectors.

Throb!

For a brief moment, he almost dropped his halberd.

‘Koo-ook!’

An unintentional moan escaped his lips.

‘This is!’

He had felt this sensation before. It was the pain in his heart. His senses became so heightened that it felt as if time had slowed. Then...

Bad-dump!

He once again heard the sound of his heart beating.

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