The term referred to an abandoned city. Sungyoon could have never thought he would use such a gloomy word to describe Armstrong city.
Armstrong was a city of money and desire. It was the place where all the valuable commodities were concentrated. People used to buy premium foods cooked to perfection on the spot. The merchandise here was much more overpriced than on Earth. Women in fancy clothes and thick makeup used to entice the Connectors. But all of it was gone now.
The only thing left was a lonely city lit up by the dim light on the ceiling.
“I never expected to see such a sight.”
Sungyoon turned around when he heard a voice. Hyunwoo had arrived with Jinsoo in tow. Sungyoon greeted them.
“Yes. How are you feeling?”
“Of course, he's good. Our ace wouldn't fail at something so basic as taking care of his body.”
On the surface, it seemed Jinsoo was praising Sungyoon. However, Hyunwoo could hear the twisted meaning hidden inside.
Hyunwoo tapped Jinsoo's head. It was a signal telling him to tone it down.
The three of them walked toward their destination, the Beginner’s Labyrinth.
“Armstrong looks so different right now, but I find it charming in some ways.”
“I always wanted to live in an empty city like in the movies!”
Jinsoo’s eyes shone as he looked at his surroundings.
“It’d have been even more appealing if I was allowed to take any items from the stores.”
In some ways, this was what people daydreamed about.
In zombie movies and post-apocalyptic movies, the protagonists would always go inside the ownerless shopping malls and take anything they wanted.
“Armstrong hasn’t gone under, and the stores still have owners. Keep it together.”
“I know that.”
Jinsoo looked away from the stores with a wistful expression.
The three of them arrived at the Beginner’s Labyrinth, and saw a couple of Connectors.
This time, most of the Connectors gathered here were new acquaintances. However, Sungyoon did see a couple of familiar faces.
“Hey, Knight! How have you been?”
“Please take care of us again! If you briskly take down the Golems like last time, you’ll instantly increase our net worth!”
Those familiar with Sungyoon approached him and patted his shoulder while uproariously laughing. They had fought together with their lives on the line, so Sungyoon had become quite close to the Connectors from the previous mission.
The Connectors who were seeing Sungyoon for the first time became interested in him, and some even conversed about Sungyoon with the Connectors who knew him.
“As expected, the Knight is really popular.”
Jinsoo spoke in an admiring tone. Of course, he was full of jealousy inside.
Hyunwoo lightly patted Jinsoo’s shoulder.
As time passed, more and more Connectors showed up. However, the total number was clearly lower than that in the previous mission.
‘To be precise, ten more had shown up last time.’
“Everyone is here.”
The Mayor arrived right on time, and he looked at the Connectors.
“I’m glad to see that everyone arrived here. Thank you very much.”
“Armstrong is paralyzed right now, so I have nothing else to do. If it were any other time, I would've arrived an hour late.”
“Ke ke ke! If I were tumbling in bed with women, I would've come a half a day late.”
“Alright. The reason doesn’t matter. Everyone kept their promise and came on time. That’s the important part.”
“Are you really going to give us real estate in Armstrong if this mission is successful?”
One of the Connectors asked the Mayor.
“Of course. Let me ask the question to the Connectors who participated in the last mission. Would you say you received suitable rewards from the last mission? ”
Many Connectors nodded. Some even proudly spoke about the real estate that they had received.
The Connector who had asked the question relaxed on hearing the testimonials from other Connectors.
“Well, I’ll start explaining the plan now.”
The Connectors formed a loose circle around the Mayor.
“First, this mission is very important to Armstrong city. If we're successful, our rival city can no longer call us the ‘unsafe city'. We can get rid of that image once and for all.”
The Connectors laughed amongst themselves.
“I’m assuming everyone here plans to remain in Armstrong. You would've already moved to that annoying place otherwise. The advancement of Armstrong will bring about prosperity for all of you. This mission is the next important step to make that happen. Would you step forward for us, Mr. Woo?”
Sungyoon obliged and stood beside the Mayor. Someone whistled, and everyone laughed.
“As you probably know, he's the famed Knight of London. He defeated the first monster to appear on Earth, the Behemoth, with the help of Princess Grace. And he's the linchpin of our plan. Those who fought the Golems last time know this, but the Golems really love him.”
“So true! I saw it for myself!”
“It doesn't matter if you have a new passionate relationship, or if you have a mature relationship from a long-term marriage. All of them pale in comparison to the love between the Knight and the Golems.”
The Connectors who had participated in the last mission burst out laughing.
“Yes, yes. If we want to win a one-sided battle against the Golems, we have to bring the Golems outside of the labyrinth. This is especially true of the Super Golems as the Super Golems regenerate within the labyrinth. Of course, they can be easily baited outside, and that’s how we defeated them up until now. However, we need to modify that plan a little bit. First, we would like you to destroy all the normal Golems inside the labyrinth to the best of your abilities. It would be ideal if you can limit the number of Golems that exit the labyrinth.”
The Mayor looked at the Connectors once again.
“When only Super Golems are left, please exit the labyrinth and bait them outside of Armstrong. This might be obvious, but if the fight is conducted within the city, it would lead to too much collateral damage. As soon as the Super Golem exits the city, you can go all out. The luring process should be easy as the Super Golems will always aim for Mr. Woo first.”
“Can’t the Knight kill the Super Golems as soon as they exit the labyrinth? I heard it takes him only one strike to kill a Super Golem.”
The new Connectors had heard about Sungyoon's feats from their buddies.
“Even if Mr. Woo is capable of doing that, it’ll be hard for him to defeat all of them. If what you're saying were possible, we wouldn’t have invested so much to bring you all here. Even if Mr. Woo is amazing, a battle will occur, and it’ll cause damage to Armstrong.”
“I’ll try to follow the plan, but I can't promise I’ll stick to it all the way. If I think my life is in danger, all bets are off. I’ll fight for my life even if it means the destruction of Armstrong.”
A Connector spoke up.
“At that point, it can’t be helped. Even if such a scenario comes about, please do your best to minimize the damage to Armstrong.”
“We’ll do our best.”
“Well, that’s the end of the briefing. Anybody has any more questions?”
When no one raised their hands, the Mayor made the declaration.
“Then let’s put the plan into motion.”
The Mayor and the civilians still in the city evacuated into a shelter for safety. To allow the plan to sail smoothly, the large gate separating the city from the space outside was opened.
The air within the city was sucked out into space, and it generated a sound akin to a loud scream.
In a first, gusts of wind swept through the city.
After the last bit of air was sucked out of the city, an absolute silence descended in Armstrong.
Hyunwoo, who had been closest to the entrance of the labyrinth, made a gesture, and the Connectors stepped into the previously-sealed Beginner’s Labyrinth.
The air hit their skin again.
Sungyoon hardened his heart and raised his weapon.
The Connectors caught sight of several monsters. Since the labyrinth had been sealed, no one had stepped inside to clear it of the monsters. So now, the Beginner's Labyrinth was crawling with monsters.
However, the Connectors in this mission frequented the Great Labyrinth, and even if they didn’t, their power was comparable to those who did.
The Beginner's Labyrinth was originally a mid to low tier labyrinth. So, the monsters spawning here didn’t stand a chance against the Connectors, and the party made quick work of the monsters.
Hyunwoo yelled. One of the Connectors approached the wall and swung his weapon.
An explosive sound rang out.
Rocks fell from the wall, and soon, a crazy storm of Mana erupted in the labyrinth.
At Hyunwoo’s words, the Connectors raised their weapons and looked at the surroundings. Sungyoon did the same.
Sungyoon saw the light.
He was a bit relieved.
Last time, several Golems had exited the Beginner's Labyrinth along with a Super Golem.
When the light receded, a Golem stood in the labyrinth. Its gem-like eyes flashed in an ominous manner.
When Hyunwoo shouted, the Connectors immediately moved.
One of the Golem’s eyes shone, and a beam of white light made a beeline toward the shield of the Connector in the lead.
The light hit the shield, and the impact force was transferred to the body of the Connector. However, the Connector didn't sway even an inch. Hyunwoo used this opportunity to get close to the Golem.
The raging beam of light stopped, and the Golem fell. Hyunwoo had cleanly cut through it.
“What the hell? This is really easy.”
Some of the Connectors new to Golems had been very nervous about the battle, but when they saw it for themselves, they sounded a bit disappointed. One of the Connectors experienced with Golems gave an explanation.
“It's only a normal Golem. Also, the Golems in this labyrinth are weaker than the ones we fought last time. However, you shouldn't let your guard down. The real battle will start right now.”
As if to prove him right, several balls of light appeared anew within the labyrinth.
“Let’s stick to plan! I’ll kill anyone who acts out of line! I don’t want individual heroics! The ones with the shield will keep the Super Golem occupied, and the others will kill the regular Golems!”
After giving the order, Hyunwoo then turned to look at Sungyoon.
“You shouldn’t move unnecessarily! The bait has to stay in place! It’ll make it easier for our defenders! You’ll fight after you lure the Golems outside of Armstrong city!”
Sungyoon was starting to feel the heartbeat. His senses enhanced, and he glared at the expanding balls of light.
The Golems dropped to the floor. Of course, they included a Super Golem.
Like broken robots, the Golems turned toward Sungyoon at the same time. Their unnatural movements were quite creepy.
‘They are coming!’
Sungyoon knew it. He didn’t know if they had feelings, but it felt as if their red malice washed over him.
It was unclear as to which Golem had moved first, but soon, all of them were charging toward Sungyoon. At this moment, the mission to eliminate the Golems from the Beginner’s Labyrinth started for real.Previous Chapter Next Chapter