The massive gates of Armstrong closed once again, and the inner part of the city was separated from space.
Since Armstrong was constructed on the surface of the desolate Moon, several emergency contingencies were built alongside it. And one of them obviously included plans in case Armstrong was exposed to space.
The ceiling of Armstrong sprayed a liquid on the city. It looked like rainwater at first glance, but it was a disinfectant whose purpose was to eliminate any unknown contaminates that might have entered the city.
Armstrong city management also adopted other disinfection methods.
When all that was done, oxygen was released from the dome surrounding Armstrong, and due to the backup supply, the air once again flowed in Armstrong.
“This will allow Armstrong to return to its golden days.”
The Mayor looked down at the city from the highest room inside the Armstrong building. When he turned around, his eyes were full of joy.
“It's thanks to all of you.”
The Connectors who had participated in the mission in the Beginner's Labyrinth were sitting around a large table and eating a feast. Looking at the number of dishes on the table, one would wonder how the table was still standing.
Such a feast cost a lot of money, but the Mayor didn’t care tonight.
The Connectors who were relieving their stress of the battle with alcohol and food replied to the Mayor's grateful message.
“Well, I don’t know about all that. We're just here to get paid.”
“That’s right. Also, the Knight did most of the work.”
“Please don’t worry about it. I’ll make sure you get your rewards. Please rest up for today. You’ve earned it.”
The Mayor then gave a signal, and more dishes were brought out. In addition, a group of people wearing fancy clothes appeared alongside the dishes.
The group included men and women dressed in skimpy outfits that left very little to the imagination.
The women sat next to the male Connectors and served them, while the men arrived beside the female Connectors and did the same.
The Connectors had returned from a battle where they had put their lives on the line, and their blood was still running hot. So seeing all this, they cheered.
“What the hell? I thought all the civilians had evacuated?”
A Connector asked as he put his arm around the slim waist of the woman displaying her feminine charms.
“We called them in as soon as the basic safety procedures were enacted in the Armstrong building. Every one of you is a hero of Armstrong. How could we neglect you.”
“I really like you, Mayor!”
Before all this, the Mayor had seldom appeared in front of the Connectors, but with this one move, he elevated his image amongst the Connectors in the room.
However, the Connectors saw that Sungyoon was still alone.
“Hey, Mayor! Why is the seat next to the Knight empty?”
The mayor answered the query.
“Mr. Woo doesn’t like that kind of stuff.”
“Uh? What the hell? Does the Knight bat for the other team?”
The male Connectors next to Sungyoon moved away a little bit, and Sungyoon snorted.
“It isn’t like that. The Knight is a man dedicated to his family. He has focused all his attention on raising his daughter.”
“Is that how it is?”
“You should've said so in the first place.”
The Connectors got close to Sungyoon once again.
They now saw him as a family man who could spurn the temptations of women and a person who wanted to watch his daughter grow up. Their perception of Sungyoon wasn’t too far from the truth.
“Is your daughter cute?”
“Yes. She's very cute.”
Sungyoon could speak that with absolute confidence.
After participating in the mission alongside Sungyoon, the Connectors had realized that he wasn’t an amiable person. So when they saw how he reacted to the question about his daughter, they all came to an obvious conclusion. The Knight was a total idiot for his daughter.
“How old is she?”
“Six, but five in terms of international age.”
“That’s the age when girls are the cutest.”
Some of the Connectors who had daughters knew this by experience.
“You should raise her well. Whenever you go down to Earth, always play with her. When I had been young, I was more focused on indulging myself with women instead of focusing on my children. They don’t even treat me like their father now.”
“At least you deserve it. I did my best to play with my children, but my line of work meant I had to stay away from my home for long periods. At some point, I just became a money-making machine for them. And when they grew up, they stopped listening to me.”
“That's so relatable.”
The Connectors were surrounded by alcohol, food, men, and women, yet the situation had somehow turned into a gathering where the Connectors shared their complaints about their family. Most of them had several families, so they all had some problems at home.
Up until now, Sungyoon had been minding his own business at the party, but he paid attention to each word of these complaints now. Their experience might be a preview of the future of his relationship with Shinhae. Sungyoon even asked them some questions of his own.
The sexually charged atmosphere had turned into a wholesome atmosphere.
The men and the women who had been assigned to serve the Connectors felt a bit awkward as they poured the alcohol.
The ridiculous feast ended like that. However, Sungyoon was very satisfied. The Connectors wanted to enjoy the things they couldn't in the feast, so they each took their server to their room.
Sungyoon returned to his room on his own.
As he lay on the bed, he let out a sigh. The awful perfume still remained in his nose. He had tried his best to distance himself from the servers.
‘I can’t fix it.’
Miyun had given him too much suffering. Moreover, he didn't really feel the need to change his aversion to women.
‘Though, I can get along fine with women now.’
Sungyoon had spent time with Jimin, Jiyoon, Chelsea, Emily, and Grace, and he didn't feel repulsed by them. He had even forged a connection with all five.
‘Come to think of it, I can give these back to my party members.’
In destroying the Super Golems, the Gems equipped on his Device had gone through an amazing evolution once again. Of course, these evolved Gems included the Gems his party members had entrusted to him.
‘The Great Labyrinth raids would become easier now.’
Sungyoon looked at the shiny Gems for a while before falling asleep.
On the next day, the air within Armstrong had returned to normal.
The ratio of gases in the air had been calibrated, and a suitable pressure was maintained. Armstrong allowed people to return, and the Connectors who had gone to their Personal labyrinths to hunt and seek refuge came back.
Armstrong city slowly returned to its normal self.
Sungyoon once again had a meeting with the Mayor.
“You achieved amazing results in this mission too.”
The Mayor put down the mission report and expressed his admiration.
“Mr. Woo is really a blessing for Armstrong.”
“You speak too highly of me.”
“You still are too modest. All right. I will stop talking about that subject. Let's go straight into the important business, the rewards.”
The Mayor picked up the mission report.
“Honestly, we're at a loss about that. You destroyed most of the Super Golems, so you deserve the most rewards. Originally, we planned on giving you appropriate amounts of real estate. However, I wonder if that's enough. Let me make another offer if you don’t mind.”
The Mayor leaned forward, and his eyes shone.
“Are you interested in the ore mining rights to the Beginner’s Labyrinth?”
Ore of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. The ore had been the genesis of the attack on Armstrong city.
“Does the ores have any use?”
“I have no idea.”
The mayor spoke the truth.
“We don’t know its properties. We don't know how much profit it could generate. We don’t know how much it’ll sell for in auctions. Aside from it being a hard ore, we have no other information. Basically, it's a lottery ticket.”
The ore might be an energy source greater than the moonstones, and it might lead to a breakthrough in the crafting of Connectors' weapons. Even if it had nothing to do with the labyrinth or the Connectors, the ore could be considered a precious metal on Earth.
Or, it could be useless. Moreover, because of the toughness of the labyrinth walls, it might not be possible to mine ores in large quantities.
It could be a boom or a bust.
The Mayor nervously looked at Sungyoon.
‘I really hope he takes up that offer.’
The Mayor was very conservative when it came to governing the city, and he didn’t like losing control. That was why he preferred if the Connectors owned less real estate in Armstrong. However, Sungyoon had achieved so many accomplishments that the Mayor's head hurt thinking about the amounts of real estate Sungyoon might potentially gain ownership to.
After a lot of thinking, a brilliant idea had hit the Mayor's mind. The ore within the Beginner’s Labyrinth! It was an unknown substance with unknown worth. The Mayor obviously preferred to give away the uncertain over the real estate, which had a certain value.
‘The ores can be found in other labyrinths anyway.’
The other lunar city had discovered ores in a lot of labyrinths near their Great Labyrinth.
If the ore was worth a lot, the Mayor could still acquire the labyrinths with ores inside. Armstrong held enough political power to get the ownership of those labyrinths.
“Of course, we’ll give you all the rights needed to acquire the ore. In fact, you can charge others a toll to use the Beginner’s Labyrinth. I’m even willing to hand over the rights to the Beginner’s Labyrinth.”
Sungyoon was surprised as the Mayor’s offer was shocking. However, considering Sungyoon's achievements, he deserved such a shocking offer.
“Of course, that isn’t all. We will still give you real estate. However, the amount will be similar to what we are giving the other Connectors. It's your choice, more real estate or ores and less real estate.”
“I’ll take the ore.”
The Mayor heard the bells of heaven ring out from Sungyoon’s mouth. However, he suppressed the joy he was feeling and tried his best to maintain a neutral expression.
“Understood. We’ll discuss the small details on the ownership you’ll have of the ores that are already excavated.”
Sungyoon nodded. Choosing the ore was not a profound decision. A part of the real estate in Armstrong already belonged to him, and since he was content with the wealth he had, the idea of owning more real estate didn't impress him.
So, when he was provided with a new and different option, he took it on a whim.
“Did anyone else receive rights to excavate the ore?”
“No. This is a special reward for you, Mr. Sungyoon. After you, the one who most contributed was Mr. Sung Hyunwoo, but he's only receiving one or two more buildings in Armstrong.”
“We’ll send you the contract as soon as we come up with the terms.”
Sungyoon nodded and exited the room.
‘The metal ore...’
On the way back to his room, Sungyoon thought about his recent decision.
‘I hope it has some useful properties.’
However, this desire wasn't too strong. It was akin to wishing for the fifth place after acquiring a lottery ticket.
The sand containing the heat crumbled under Sungyoon's steel boots.
His party slowly traveled through the sand that moved like the waves of an ocean. The heat they faced was so intense that it created a haze, and the desert environment was unforgiving. The 9th floor of the Great Labyrinth was a land of extreme heat, but the four of them were unexpectedly doing ok.
“Thankfully, our defensive gear doesn’t overheat. It does well against the dry heat and the sunlight.”
Emily pulled down her hood further to speak.
“Our defensive gear is pretty high-rank. If mere light could increase its temperature, then how could it resist the monsters.”
Sungyoon and Tim especially agreed with Grace. Unlike the women who had worn robes, the men were clad in metal armor.
If these armors were ordinary, the heat would have turned them into an amazing oven.
The party was in the desert, which was the last floor of the initial stage of the Great Labyrinth. Hunting the monsters on their way, the four of them tried to find an exit.
They succeeded in their search soon.
“Lucky! We found it before we had to return to Earth.”
Sungyoon’s party stood in front of the entrance that would let them graduate from the initial stage of the Great Labyrinth.Previous Chapter Next Chapter