Chapter 23

Despite her surprise, Jimin continued her explanation.

“I’ll explain the function of the Gems using their shapes.  A Gem’s shape is dependent on its type.  A different shape indicates a different weapon. The cross-shaped Gem is a shield. The X shaped Gem is an armor. The hexagonal Gem gives a special ability.”

This time Sungyoon placed the cross-shaped Gem into its slot. A small round shield appeared in his left hand.

“The Gems are the only weapons that work against the monsters within the labyrinths. It is possible to kill a monster using a Connector’s body, but it is too dangerous. The only certainty is the fact that normal weapons of humanity do not work on these monsters.”

This was why Connectors fought against monsters using weapons from ancient and medieval times.

This time Sungyoon inserted the x shaped Gem. A moderately thick leather armor appeared around his upper body. It was shaped like a vest.

He had one Gem left. However, Sungyoon was having a hard time mounting this Gem. He turned it over as if he was appraising the Gem.

This Gem was different from the other Gems. It had a hexagonal shape, but it wasn’t purple. It was letting out a lustrous gold light.

“Isn’t this a Jewel ranked Gem?”

The Seven types of Gems had the color of a rainbow, so it was called the Rainbow rank. Above the Rainbow rank, there were transitional Gems, and these were called Black and White rank Gems. Then there were the higher-ranked Gems, and these were referred to by the name of jewels. This color was the start of the Jewel rank. The gold-colored Gem in his hand was a Jewel ranked Gem.

One of the requirements for entering the Great Labyrinth was a Jewel ranked Gem. The Gold Gem was a Jewel ranked Gem, and it was a very valuable and expensive item.

Sungyoon had a baffled expression as he looked at Jimin.

“This Device can only slot purple Gems. And even if I had a Device capable of being able to slot a gold Gem, I can’t use it.”

When a Connector had just awakened, they could only use purple Gems. With the passsage of time, the amount of energy emitted by the heart would increase, allowing the Connector to use more Gems. Of course, how fast one could use the higher ranked Gems was dependent on the Connector. It varied amongst Connectors.

However, one thing was for sure. Sungyoon had just awakened, so he couldn’t use this Gold rank Gem.

“Also, it is unknown as to whether I’ll be able to use a Gold Gem in the future.”

The rank of Connectors depended on the ranks of the Gems they could use. The 1st Gen ranked much lower than the 2nd and 3rd Gen Connectors.

Basically, it was like casting pearls before swine when Jimin gave the Gold rank Gem to Sungyoon.

“It isn't as if you can’t use it at all.”

“… are you being serious with me?”

Even if the Device’s quality was low, it was possible to use a high-rank Gem with it. However, one had to forcefully activate the Gem, and it would cause a rebound, resulting in the Device being destroyed. If the Connector’s rank was well below the rank of the Gem, it would destroy the Gem too.

In other words, the Gem would be a single-use Gem.

Despite this fact, Jimin was adamant in her position.

“At the very least, it’ll be able to save your life once.”

Sungyoon looked straight into her eyes. He wanted to discern the truth behind the statement, but Jimin’s eyes never faltered.

“…thank you for your kindness, president.”

Sungyoon placed the gold Gem into the Device. It was like placing a dish from a high-end restaurant amongst junk food. The gold Gem was the only Gem in the dull silver bracelet that let out a brilliant light.

Sungyoon looked at the lustrous gold Gem.

‘It is a Gem with a special ability.’

He didn’t know what kind of ability this Gem possessed. The direction on how to use this Gem would only appear in his head when he would activate it. He would be able to use this Gem only once, so it would be idiotic to activate it right now.

He was going to put his life on the line to enter this labyrinth. Even if he didn’t know how to use it, the Gold rank Gem was something that reassured him. 

“Did you memorize the general information regarding the monsters?”

“Yes, I stuffed as much information in my head.”

“That’s enough.”

Of course, it wasn’t enough. But he possessed the minimum requirement to be able to enter into the labyrinth. The only thing left was to gain experience, and that was the only thing he could do.

“I want you to get a feel for the labyrinth. You should see what kind of place it is.”

At some point, he'll have to overcome danger. He’ll have to put his life on the line. Sungyoon was a 1st Gen Connector, and he was aiming for the Great Labyrinth. He would have to take many more risks than the other Connectors. He would be pushed into a place where death would be his closest companion. Jimin couldn’t tell him to take it easy, and she couldn’t ask him to go slowly either. Still, this would be his first time entering a labyrinth, so she wished him a safe passage. 

“I’ll be back.”

Sungyoon tightly gripped his spear as he turned around. He started walking towards the labyrinth. He looked like a warrior mentioned in myths. He looked like a hero heading into a cave to hunt down an evil monster who had been harassing the people. At the same time, he also looked like an unfortunate living sacrifice who had been chosen to quell the anger of the monster.

“…Please take care.”

Jimin watched the shadow of the labyrinth slowly swallow up Sungyoon. She quietly mumbled the words that she couldn’t utter in front of him.

* * *

Sungyoon walked into the labyrinth among a crowd. Jimin said there weren’t a lot of people entering the labyrinth, but there were a couple dozen people there.

As he approached the entrance, his body became tense. His heart didn’t beat faster thanks to the characteristic particular to the Connectors. However, this didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous. He would have to put his life on the line.

“Hoo-ooh!”

He took a deep breath. It was unnecessary since he didn’t need to breathe as a Connector. However, it was good enough to lessen his nerves.

It might have been just in his mind, but he felt a little bit less tense. He was able to take a step back and look at his surroundings. Sungyoon looked at his ‘allies’ as they entered into the labyrinth like he did.

It seemed it wasn’t a lie that this was the Beginner’s Labyrinth. Everyone was similarly equipped as Sungyoon, and only a few looked better equipped than him.

This comforted him a little bit. At the very least, he wasn’t under-equipped. He was able to confirm this fact.

He walked with a little bit more confidence as he entered the entrance of the labyrinth which was completely dark.

Ssssk!

Sungyoon flinched. It felt as if something had brushed past his skin. He was surprised, because the sensation came out of nowhere. It didn’t feel unpleasant. If he had to make a comparison, it felt like the warm mountain winds. It also felt cool like the water from a creek. Still, there was a difference. It was an amazing and new sensation.

‘Magical energy.’

He realized it by instinct. A refined, fresh, and powerful energy was being supplied by his heart. Sungyoon was like a little child seeing the ocean for the first time. He moved his hand through the air as if he was dragging his hand through the ocean water. The current of magical energy swirled around the tip of his fingers.

While he was doing this, he reached the part of the Dungeon where all light was absent. The light from Armstrong city, which had been coming in through the entrance, couldn’t reach this place.

However, the darkness didn’t hinder Sungyoon at all.

He could see.

There wasn’t a single source of light that would allow his eyes to register any shapes around him. Despite this fact, Sungyoon’s eyes were able to pick up everything around him. It was as if his eyes were picking up objects through a different medium than light.

It was a strange sensation. He couldn’t see, yet he could see. No, it was beyond seeing. Sungyoon’s eyes could distinguish the color and outline of objects.

‘This is all thanks to the magical energy.’

To be precise, this was the leading hypothesis explaining this phenomenon. Sungyoon thought the hypothesis was sound in logic. The labyrinth was filled with magical energy, and the magical energy was delivering information directly to his senses. He had never experienced this on Earth. It wasn’t just sight. His other senses were heightened. If there were bugs nearby, he thought he would be able to hear them crawl across the floor.

Sungyoon continued to move along inside the labyrinth.

The labyrinth was large. This wasn’t like a cave or a mine shaft. Several large buildings could fit where he was standing, and the labyrinth was getting larger as he went further in. He would have no problem swinging his spear in here.

He discreetly walked up towards the wall of the labyrinth and placed his hand on it. It was hard and cold, and its surface was bumpy. It was as if someone or something had forcefully cut, tore, scratched, and sliced the walls to make this place. It wasn’t man-made, and he didn’t think this place was formed naturally.

He slowly walked forward with his hand on the wall. Soon, he came to a fork. It reminded him why this place was called a labyrinth. However, he didn’t hesitate. He took the left path. As expected of a labyrinth for beginners, there were signs placed with directions. There was no way he would get lost in here, so there was no hesitation in his footsteps.

After he went past a couple more forks, there were no longer many people around him. Most of the people who had entered the labyrinth with Sungyoon, had taken different routes. At times, he also met people coming towards him. They were Connectors trying to exit the labyrinth.

However, he had yet to see a single monster.

It happened when tension was about to leave his body.

“Hoo-aht!”

He heard a large shout. The sound was reflected and amplified by the nearby walls and ceiling. Sungyoon’s eyes widened, and he looked towards the source of the sound. A man was bringing down his ax further down the path. 

Crunch!

He heard something breaking. Something white fell to the ground.

Sungyoon just stared at the sight that had unfolded in front of him. The body of a small-sized animal lay in front of the man. The beast was plump, and it had a creepy looking tail. Overall, it looked similar to a rat.

‘Big Rat.’

The name was right on the nose. The monster was shaped like a big rat.

‘It is one of the monsters that is easy to catch for beginner Connectors.’

It didn’t drop much loot, but it was relatively safe to kill it. This was why this monster was popular amongst the beginner Connectors.

He meticulously searched the data bank inside his head when he caught sight of a light emanating from the Big Rat’s body.

Hwahk!

In the beginning, the light had been small. The light continued to grow, and it surrounded the entire body of the Big Rat. However, the light didn’t last too long.

Hoo-oohk!

As the light dispersed, it was as if the corpse was swallowed up by the light. In the place of the corpse, a smooth luminescent stone remained.

‘Moonstone!’

It was the item every country coveted.

The man placed the moonstone into a pouch hanging on his belt. He didn’t look happy at the fact that Sungyoon was looking at him. He glared at Sungyoon then he went on his way.

Sungyoon started walking when the man was out of sight. He gained some benefit from watching someone else battle a monster. However, he wouldn’t gain any moonstones even if he viewed such battles several hundred times. His debt wouldn’t lessen. He wasn’t here to look at other Connectors fighting monsters. He was here to find monsters he could fight.

He walked past several more Connectors in the middle of their hunt. He moved deeper into the labyrinth.

Sungyoon stopped walking. At some point, he could no longer sense other people around him. However, it would be wrong for him to say that he was alone. There weren’t any people nearby, but something was in front of Sungyoon. 

Red eyes were looking at him. If Sungyoon couldn't see through the darkness, he would have seen two burning red marbles floating in the darkness.

Sssk!

Sungyoon lowered himself into his fighting stance. He placed his feet firmly on the ground as he pushed his spear outwards.

He heard a growl. Sungyoon gulped.

Immediately, he could tell this monster wasn’t friendly. The monster revealed its fangs as it glared at Sungyoon.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter