Chapter 20

The instructor discreetly checked Sungyoon’s reaction. Fortunately, Sungyoon didn't show any signs of anger. He let out a sigh of relief inside as he continued his explanation.

“In order to gather the moonstones, you have to defeat the monsters. The moonstones are within their bodies. That is why Mr. Sungyoon is being trained to fight here. However, do you know what tools are used in those fights?”

Sungyoon nodded. 

“We use Devices and Gems.”

This was the main reason why Connectors could hunt down the monsters. Connectors were able to use the energy supplied by their heart to manifest magic. They were able to summon powerful weapons which gave them the power to face off against the monsters.

“That’s right. However, both the Devices and the Gems can only be excavated in the Moon’s Labyrinth. That is why large companies with long history possess many of these important tools. Usually, the Connectors from these companies buy, sell, and exchange these items amongst each other. The companies basically mediate this process.”

He was talking about companies that were large and had a long history. Sungyoon’s company had neither of those qualities. 

“The Connectors use Devices and Gems as their weapons. Their fighting capability change according to the Gems. The large companies possess many Gems, so the Connectors affiliated with these companies have some choice in which weapons they want to pursue. However, this isn’t true for you, Mr. Sungyoon.”

Sungyoon silently listened to the instructor’s explanation.

“As one moves deeper into a labyrinth, more powerful monsters make their appearance. There comes a time when you can’t fight these monsters with the first weapon you’ve brought along. Large companies can acquire high quality weapons for their Connectors when needed. This won’t happen for you, Mr. Sungyoon. You must acquire your own weapons. Even if it is a different type of weapon, you must use this other weapon if it is of higher quality. Let me give you an example. Let us say you are an expert swordsman. You are facing a rampaging boar with a wooden sword. What if there was a steel ax on the ground next to you? As an expert swordsman, do you insist on using the wooden sword?”

“In other words, I have no idea which weapons I will be using, so I should get comfortable using as many weapons as possible in a short amount of time.”

“That’s it.”

The instructor looked happy. It was as if he was looking at a smart student who can put two and two together.

“However, your concerns are valid. That is why we will use the last week to focus on using the weapon provided by your company. I’m pretty sure it is a spear.”

The instructor put the two-handed sword back on its mount, then he brought down a long spear.

“It is a fine weapon. It is good for a beginner. Its long reach can be used to give you an amazing advantage.”

Hoohng!

The instructor lightly swung the spear. The long shaft and the blade attached at the end split the air. The instructor showed off some fancy techniques as he swung the spear couple times. Then he mounted the spear back on the wall. He brought down the two-handed sword. 

“Shall we get back to training?”

Sungyoon quietly got into his stance.

* * *

Sungyoon was preparing to go to the Moon. The overall process wasn't bad, but he was a bit distrustful of the process. However, he was slowly getting ready.

Finally, it was two days before he would go to the Moon.

“Is it tasty?”

Sungyoon spoke with a benevolent smile on his face. There was only one person in the world that he would show his unguarded self. 

“Yes!”

Shinhae held the leg of a Korean fried chicken. Sauce was all over her lips as she vigorously nodded.

Until not too long ago, Shinhae had been awkward around him. She had been unfamiliar with his new look. However, Shinhae had become completely used to it now.

She once again brought the chicken leg to her mouth, and more sauce caked itself on her face. It was a messy sight, but in Sungyoon’s eyes, there was no way it looked dirty.

“You should eat more.”

Sungyoon pushed the remaining chicken leg towards Shinhae. He felt full just from looking at her eating. As for the reason why he felt satiated, it was a topic that could be debated among psychologists and biologists. He just knew that it was real.

Sungyoon was living in a small apartment acquired by Jimin. It had a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and one bathroom. In comparison to his former home, it was incredibly small. However, it felt cozy to Sungyoon. He could endure anything thrown his way if he could be with Shinhae.

“I’m full.”

Shinhae put down the half-eaten chicken leg and let out a burp.

“Eat more.”

The child was full, but in the eyes of a parent, what she had eaten was not enough. It was a behavior common in every generation. Sungyoon used the repertoire of phrases used on him by his parents and grandparents. He pushed the dish towards Shinhae. However, Shinhae shook her head from side to side. She was only five-years old. Even if she tried to eat a lot, she could eat only so much.

Shinhae lightly jumped off the chair.

“You have to wash your hands!”

“Yes!”

Shinhae ran towards the restroom. She raised her hand to turn on the light, and she went into the restroom.

The children in her age group hated being told to wash themselves. But unlike the children her age, Shinhae was quite the obedient child when it came to her father’s words. Maybe, the time spent away from him in the orphanage had made her more mature. If that was true, he would have preferred it if she was a disobedient child. The thought of his daughter growing up fast upset his heart.

Before she entered the orphanage, Sungyoon or Miyoon had to brush Shinhae’s teeth for her. However, Shinhae had experienced a lone life at the orphanage. She could do most things by herself now.

Sungyoon brought Shinhae’s dish in front of him. In a normal family, the parents were like hyenas, and they finished the leftover food of the children. It was the same for Sungyoon. The chicken legs and chicken wings had not been eaten properly. There was still a good amount of flesh left on the bones. It was how children basically ate their food. Sungyoon quickly put the chicken leg in his mouth. Of course, it was dirty to eat someone else’s leftover food. However, since it was his daughter who had eaten it, it wasn’t dirty at all.

He chewed on the chicken as he fell deep into his thoughts.

He would be going to a labyrinth on the Moon. He was most worried about Shinhae since she would have to live by herself. Jimin had hired a housekeeper, and she would check up on Shinhae periodically. Still, he would be leaving a five-year-old kid by herself. He wasn't going to a foreign country. He was going to space. As his departure date kept moving closer, his worries just mounted. 

At that moment, when Sungyoon had been busily dissecting the piece of chicken, he heard a phone ring. He had been about to answer his phone when he realized it wasn’t his ringtone. 

“Wait a moment!”

He could see Shinhae running out of the restroom. It was Shinhae’s cell phone. Sungyoon was always worried about his daughter, so when his financial situation became less dire, he made sure he would be able to contact his daughter when he wanted to. Hence, the first thing he did was to shop for a cellphone with his daughter.

“It is unni!”

Shinhae yelled out as she answered her cellphone. Soon, he could hear her trilling laughter.

‘I guess it is Ms. Jung Jiyoon.’

Alongside Hahn Jimin and the director of the orphanage, he felt indebted to Jiyoon as well. After Shinhae left the orphanage, Jiyoon had kept in constant contact with Shinhae.

In truth, he didn’t like it. It wasn’t as if she had done anything wrong. It was just part of Sungyoon’s unique nature now. He mistrusted all women, especially a beautiful woman. Still, he hadn’t stopped Jiyoon from contacting Shinhae.

Shinhae rolled around her bed as she talked with Jiyoon. After a long time had passed, Shinhae ended the call.

What were they talking about? They talked almost daily, so it was pretty amazing that they could continue to find a topic of conversation.

Afterward, Shinhae opened a picture book as she laid down on her bed. She swung her legs as she started reading the book. She still couldn’t read her letters, so she turned the pages to look at the pictures. Still, it seemed she was having a good time.

‘I should leave her in someone’s care.’

However, he had no one he could entrust her with. His parents had passed away a long time ago, and he didn’t have any close relatives. It wasn’t even worth mentioning Miyun. She was Shinhae’s mom, but he’d rather put Shinhae in an orphanage than with that bitch.

“Ha-ah!”

In the end, he could only let out a sigh. He had no solution to this problem.

‘I just have to trust that the president will treat her well.’

He had no choice. He could only surround Shinhae with constant love until he had to leave.

His appetite was spoiled, so he put down the chicken leg. He had barely eaten, but he wasn’t hungry. He no longer had to eat.

“Shinhae! You should wash! It is time to sleep!”

He stood up from the kitchen desk as he spoke aloud. Shinhae turned her head to look at him. She climbed off her bed, and she ran towards Sungyoon. When she arrived in front of him, she raised the picture book.

“Afterward, read me this book.”

Shinhae pushed the large yet thin picture book towards Sungyoon. The cover had illustrations of various animals, and the title was written in big, bold letters.

“Ok.”

Sungyoon took the book and he placed it on top of the dining table. Then he took Shinhae’s hand and took her into the restroom.

After washing her, they went into the master bedroom, and they laid down in the same bed. He hugged Shinhae in his arms as he read the picture book. The book was about a fox’s adventure. In the beginning, her eyes were sparkling. She was concentrating since she didn’t want to miss even a single picture. However, soon her eyes started to shut. It didn’t take too long for her to completely close her eyes. She started breathing regularly.

Sungyoon closed the book, and he brushed Shinhae’s hair to the side. It caused Shinhae to move a little bit in her sleep. She moved closer towards his body as if she was searching for his warmth.

Sungyoon hugged Shinhae tightly.

His eyes started too close as he thought about the day when they’ll part from each other.

* * *

One’s heart always quickened when one left home for a new place. It didn’t matter if the new place was a clear valley, a majestic mountain, the blue ocean, a vast plain, or a bright city. A new place always had the allure that tugged at one’s heart. The reason behind the trip didn’t matter. It didn’t matter if it was a simple trip or a business trip. A person felt excited when one stepped into an unfamiliar place.

However, this was only true if these locations were within the boundaries of Earth.

“Are you ready?”

Jimin wore a thick white spacesuit as she asked the question. Sungyoon’s gaze moved past her to look at something in the distance.

It was towards a spacecraft that was getting close to being launched.

‘I’m really going to the Moon.’

It was as if he was an observer that was a step removed from this process. He felt like a bystander. Everything felt unreal.

However, the spacecraft in front of him had finished its preparation. The reality was setting in that he would be going to the Moon now.

In the past, his heart would be hammering right now. His pulse would have sped up. However, he felt none of that. Sungyoon’s heart remained silent.

“I’m ready!”

He made a firm resolution as he looked up.

“Let’s go.”

Jimin started walking in front of him. She also wore an uncomfortable spacesuit, so her steps looked awkward. He was worried she would fall over, so he stuck close by her. If it was any other woman, he wouldn’t have cared. However, she was the president of the company he was affiliated with.

As they continued to walk, the spacecraft continued to get bigger in their vision. They kept craning their neck to see the spacecraft tower which reached into the sky. It was a powerful sight.

“Hoo-ooh~!”

He let out a small sigh as he tried to firm his heart once again. He would be going to a place that will allow him to make a better future for his daughter.

‘I have to do my best.’

His heart was full of determination.

On that day, a single spacecraft left Earth to head towards the Moon.

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