A commotion broke out among the ambushers.
The name itself held massive weight.
Aruwen had been barely holding his anger back, but those two words became the straw that broke the camel’s back. He seized Plu-El by the collar.
“Damn it to hell! We should have recovered it at all costs!”
No, it was a mixture of a scream and a wail rather than a yell. Despair and anxiety were hidden in his deafening voice.
If any passersby had heard his voice, instead of frowning, they would look at him with sympathy and interest in their eyes.
Unfortunately, the one to face his voice was Plu-El, and it didn’t work on her.
She forcefully disengaged Aruwen’s hands from her collar and straightened out her clothes. As her eyes turned deadly, she replied.
“How were we supposed to recover it? Didn't you see Kevil sever its arm to run away? That man was connected to the source of the magical energy, and he also defeated the fear. What could the six of us do against him? Even if Kevil were at its full strength, its victory still wouldn't be guaranteed against that man!”
“Still, we should've done everything in our power to recover it!
"We had to do it even if we ended up losing several of our numbers! It was a must!”
This time, Plu-El grabbed Aruwen by the collar. Everyone else could only look on in an anxious manner, and no one dared to get in between the two of them.
“You're willing to sacrifice your people? Is that what someone with the royal blood should say!”
Aruwen once again grabbed Plu-El’s collar as he yelled.
“We won’t have a prayer’s chance of winning against our enemies without it! How do you not know that?”
“What a joke! You can’t even use it! No! Even your forefathers lost the ability to use it at some point! It's merely a toy that you use to stroke your own ego! You want to sacrifice people to get that back? What nonsense!”
They two stopped yelling for a brief moment, but this didn’t mean the fight had ended.
They glared at each other as if they wanted to kill each other.
They had entered the eye of the storm.
Plu-El let go of Aruwen’s collar and slapped his hands away.
“If it was so precious, you should've stored it at home. I don’t get why you insisted on carrying it around when you can’t even use it”
“That’s the token that signifies royalty!”
“Yes. That’s all it means to you.”
Aruwen growled as if he were some rabid dog that wanted to bite her. Plu-El snorted at his actions.
“It turned out for the better. It found a better owner. The Royal Gem slowly awakened that silver-armored man, and he can actually use it.”
“You want to entrust the token of the King to that lowly bastard!”
Aruwen was apoplectic. A smirk appeared on Plu-El’s lips.
“Why not? Your family can no longer acclimate to the source of the magical energy. In the end, you and your family lost the right to use the Gem. Why should it be kept in your hands when you can’t even use it?”
“You stupid bitch! Only my family has the right to possess that item!”
“You really are unreasonable. It is like talking to a wall.”
Plu-El shrugged and turned around.
It was futile and tiring to talk to someone that wouldn’t see reason, and she knew it would be dumb to continue this conversation.
“Where the hell are you going!”
“We have to regroup. We have to, if we want to carry out that damned plan.”
“We found the Royal Gem. The recovery of the Gem supersedes the plan!”
Plu-El came to a stop and turned around.
Her disbelief was reflected in her eyes.
“You're unbelievable! You pushed for this plan when everyone disagreed with it. Despite going through all that trouble, you now want to prioritize recovering the Gem? Are you out of your mind?”
She was posing her words as rhetorical questions since she was sure that Aruwen was out of his mind.
Plu-El was about to rebuke him more, but a voice stopped her.
“I agree with Aruwen!”
Plu-El couldn’t believe what she had just heard. She never expected Tiotudo to take Aruwen’s side. On the other hand, the color returned to Aruwen’s face.
The one to step in between the two was a tall man slightly shorter than two meters.
“See! This guy knows what I’m talking about!”
Aruwen spoke with a triumphant look on his face. He turned to look at Tiotudo.
“I thought you would be in Plu-El’s camp, but your thoughts are commendable. Did you finally realize the greatness of my family?”
“Your family is already gone. No one recognizes your claim. Even if your family is great, you aren't. When will you accept this?”
Aruwen’s face crumpled.
It was like he had chewed on a biscuit thinking it would be tasty, but the biscuit turned out to be stale and rock hard.
Plu-El looked pleased.
However, even if she was pleased by his put down, she was able to separate business from her personal feelings.
“That’s a relief. I thought you had lost your mind after eating something bad on Earth. But I’m having a hard time understanding the rationale behind your words. What is your reasoning?”
“It's such an old story that you both could've forgotten it. Do you remember how his so-called amazing forefathers died out?”
The faces of Plu-El and Aruwen stiffened.
The change was most stark on Aruwen’s face as it had turned bone-white.
“The ones capable of using the Royal Gem had a strong connection to the source of the magical energy. However, this also allowed ‘him' to influence them. Even though they possessed the Royal Gem, it only slowed down his influence. In the end, they all became corrupted.”
Tiotudo's words were like heavy weights weighing down their hearts.
“If that silver-armored man were our comrade, we could do what we have always done. We could send him back to the embrace of the magical energy with our hands before he becomes corrupted. However, that silver-armored man is beyond our reach. We also don’t know when he'll become corrupt. That means we have only one choice.”
His voice contained sympathy, uneasiness, disgust, but also an unwavering resolve that overshadowed all the other emotions.
“We have to kill the silver-armored man as soon as possible.”
“… This isn’t about recovering the Royal Gem? You want to kill the person using the Royal Gem?”
“Yes. If I’m being honest, I’m not interested in recovering the Royal Gem. Although, if we can recover it while killing him, we'll do so.”
Aruwen shouted again, but Tiotudo and Plu-El ignored him.
“… Your reasoning is sound. Ok. I’ll follow your recommendation.”
Like his reserved personality, Tiotudo was a man of few words.
However, he always meant what he said, so a smile appeared on Plu-El’s lips.
Plu-El really liked men who were dignified, and not noisy like Aruwen.
‘However, he isn’t as great as my husband.’
“Let me know when you come up with a plan. I have to go to Soyoung right now.”
The atmosphere in Plu-El's surroundings changed as soon as the name was mentioned.
Aruwen frowned, and the others who had been nervously watching the scene also expressed their displeasure.
Only Tiotudo retained the same expression as he had before.
Plu-El glared at everyone who displayed unpleasant expressions.
Facing her gaze, everyone looked away.
“Alright. I’ll update you later. Please say hi to Soyoung.”
Plu-El's tone contained displeasure as she headed to the place where her precious daughter was waiting for her.
No one liked it when she called her daughter by the name of Hahn Soyoung, and a few even disliked Soyoung's existence. However, Soyoung was her precious daughter.
Three months had passed since Sungyoon's second battle with the demonic monster.
Just after the battle, Sungyoon’s exploits had been all over the news. After all, he had defeated the demonic monster and also the ambushers who had attacked Armstrong city's research team.
The severed arm of the demonic monster became a hot topic as numerous countries wanted to study it.
After a week, the incident had been overshadowed by other news, and by now, everyone had moved on to the next hot topic.
White snow piled outside Sungyoon's house. After two months of day duty, Sungyoon was on standby for the night shift.
The sun had already fallen, and the snow had turned silver from the moonlight. Yet, Sungyoon was at home instead of the standby location.
Sungyoon exited his house and walked to the long bench in his backyard. He brushed off the snow on the bench, and his butt instantly became cold when he sat down.
Cold air brushed against his cheeks.
His eyes fell on the helipad in the backyard, and then on the snow piling on top of the helicopter.
Jimin had purchased a used helicopter and given it to Sungyoon.
As expected, one couldn’t immediately purchase a helicopter like buying goods from a large store.
A new helicopter was under construction, so this used one was a stopgap measure until the new one's arrival.
Sungyoon thought about Shinhae’s expression when she had seen the helicopter for the first time.
When the helicopter had landed in a cool way, Shinhae had run around the helicopter in joy.
When she had ridden the helicopter for the first time, her expression…
A warm smile appeared on Sungyoon’s lips. Even the winds of Siberia couldn’t extinguish that warm smile.
“What are you doing over there?”
The door opened, and someone asked in a low voice.
Jimin stood at the door and stared at Sungyoon. A thick blanket covered her body.
Sungyoon could be mobilized into battle at any time, so Jimin was living in Sungyoon’s house for now to take care of Shinhae when he was away.
“I was thinking about this.”
Sungyoon raised a Gem.
The Gold Gem shone under the moonlight.
Instead of the bright sunlight, the Gem was exposed to the subdued light of the moon, and it once again showed a different hue of light.
Jimin slowly pushed through the snowfield. She carefully dusted off the snow on the seat next to Sungyoon.
“Yes, it is.”
The words between them dried up.
The steam from their mouths kept creating small white clouds in the cold air.
“… How are you feeling? Your body? Do you feel anything amiss?”
“No. Nothing like that.”
After Sungyoon had told Jimin about the Gem, she always asked him these questions. She asked it so frequently that it bordered on being annoying. However, Sungyoon had always calmly answered her.
“Shouldn’t we leave it with Chelsea? We can hand it over to another researcher if not her.”
Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“The researchers couldn’t even discern the rudimentary power of the Gem, so I don’t think they can figure out the ability of the Gem either.
Sungyoon raised the Gem, and the Gem overlapped with the Moon.
“I believe it's sending me some kind of a signal. It feels as if it wants to talk to me.”
If others could hear him, they would think he had lost his mind. However, the trust in Jimin’s eyes never wavered.
Sungyoon turned his head to look at Jimin. He could see her long eyelashes in front of him.
“You believe me. If it were me in your place, I wouldn’t have.”
“I do, because you're the one saying these words, Mr. Sungyoon.”
“Do you trust everything I say?”
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that she was emphatic and resolute in her statement. Her reply made Sungyoon pause.
A bright smile appeared on Jimin’s lips.
“You know why.”
Sungyoon’s gaze headed toward the Moon.
“When we had that large gathering, I talked about remarriage.”
“At the time, I said I wanted someone who would treat Shinhae well, someone who would treat Shinhae like her own daughter.”
“My relationship with Shinhae is as good as most relationships between a mother and a daughter. No. I believe our relationship is much deeper, because we suffered the same wounds.”
The wounds in their hearts had allowed Jimin and Shinhae to form a bond. It allowed them to become family.
“I’m really old.”
“Large age difference is quite common amongst Connector couples.”
“I still can't trust women.”
“Is it all women?”
Sungyoon remained silent at Jimin's question, but that silence was a good enough answer for her.
Jimin placed her hands on Sungyoon’s cheeks. She turned his head to look into his eyes.
The white snowfield reflected the subdued light of the Moon.
Two shadows formed by the moonlight merged with each other as their lips met. It erased all the sounds around them.Previous Chapter Next Chapter