As soon as he left the spaceport, the tepid air unique to Armstrong city swamped him. Sungyoon frowned a little bit as he sniffed to clear his nose.
On Earth, he had to be on standby in his house for his shift. It was boring, but he preferred it to being in Armstrong city.
However, he soon became used to the recycled air. It had been a while since he saw the streets of Armstrong city. As he walked the streets, he realized that Armstrong city was still the same. Even though the city had been facing a crisis, people still coveted the moonstones, and with the fall of the other Lunar city, Armstrong had recovered much of their standing in the world.
Sungyoon's feet came to a stop in front of a particular five-story building. The first floor was a pub, and the other floors had various shops designed to prey on the money of Connectors. Sungyoon owned this building.
Considering the crazy cost of living in Armstrong city, he was receiving an astronomical sum of money for rent from the stores: a couple hundred thousand dollars from each store for one month. It made him understand why Armstrong was so resistant in giving away properties to Connectors.
However, the higher-ups of Armstrong city no longer hoarded the real estate market.
‘This is my building….’
An odd light flashed in Sungyoon’s eyes as he looked up at the building.
Despite the outrageous rent, the number of store owners that wanted to rent the space in his building was enough to form lines. This wasn’t the only building Armstrong had given to Sungyoon. Even if Sungyoon stopped acquiring moonstones, he would be able to amass an enormous fortune over time with the rent from his buildings all over the city.
Leaving behind the loud and bustling store, Sungyoon returned to his house.
When his party members were forced to serve in the defense of Armstrong city, they had also received some real estate in Armstrong. However, they still resided in Sungyoon’s house when they came to the Moon.
As a party, they wanted to maintain good chemistry, and it was more convenient that way.
When Sungyoon reached his house, he found no one inside. Chelsea was conducting her research, and his other party members hadn’t arrived yet.
Sungyoon went up to the second floor and entered the room right across the stairs. It was a playroom. The first thing his eyes fell upon was a billiard’s table in the center room. Game consoles and board games like chess were spread everywhere in the room.
Sungyoon remembered that when he started out, he used to receive a small number of nutritional supplements and water from the support center because he didn’t have any money. His residence had been a dormitory where he cooped up like a chicken. The luxury in front of him right now was something that the low rank Connectors couldn't even dream about. It showed the extreme gap between the rich and the poor in Armstrong city.
Sungyoon picked up a cue stick mounted on the wall and rolled the billiard ball. The sound of a billiard ball bouncing around broke the silence in the room. He was about to kill some time when he heard a knock.
Sungyoon calmly turned around as if he had already known that she was there. At the open door, he saw someone leaning against the door frame. She was a striking woman with large glasses and dressed in a dirty lab coat.
“Hello, Mr. Sungyoon. It has been a while.”
“Yes, it has.”
Chelsea offered her pale hand. Sungyoon grabbed it, and he pumped it a couple of times for a handshake.
“You want to have a match?”
Chelsea pointed at the billiards table. Sungyoon had no reason to turn her down.
“Now that I think about it, I’ve rarely played pool with you, Ms. Chelsea.”
The one who usually played pool with Sungyoon was Tim. Sungyoon and Chelsea had gone against each other when they had played billiards as teams, and this would be the first time they would face each other one-on-one.
“Don't take me lightly. When all three of you went to Earth, I played every day. Alone! On the Moon! I was the only one left!”
The Connectors had to go back down to Earth to fulfill their duties to their country, but they got to live on Earth. Chelsea remained behind on the desolate Moon, conducting her research in the lab. She had a lot of pent-up frustration.
Her slim legs parted as she assumed the proper stance. She placed all her frustration into her cue stick and struck the ball.
The sound didn’t have much strength behind it. Chelsea had missed the mark when hitting the ball, so the ball slowly rolled diagonally.
Chelsea bumped her head against the billiard table. She tried to act nonchalant as she watched the white ball roll in the direction of the red ball. However, the white ball stopped well before it could reach the red ball.
Sungyoon smirked as he grabbed the cue stick.
“You can make such faces now.”
Sungyoon froze for a brief moment. Chelsea leaned against the billiard table and propped herself up with her arms. She looked up at Sungyoon and spoke.
“You used to be like a marble statue.”
Sungyoon touched his face. She was right; the corners of his mouth were slightly lifted into a smile.
“Was marriage that good for you?”
“… Did you hear it from Ms. Jimin?”
“She used the expensive communication service to call me from Earth. She was unusually chatty, and I could tell she had called to show off.”
Sungyoon felt awkward as he scratched his cheek. Chelsea had an air of a jealous woman around her, and it looked like she was about to take out and bite her handkerchief.
Pushing off the billiard table, Chelsea stood up straight. With the billiard table's obstructed cleared, Sungyoon raised his cue stick.
A snappy sound rang out as the white ball hit two red balls in succession. Sungyoon moved the cue stick a couple more times.
“Jimin told me something else too. You know about how the others feel about you?”
A dull sound rang out.
Sungyoon's cue stick had missed its target; it was exactly what had happened with Chelsea earlier. He was off-target, and the ball weakly drifted to the side. With round eyes, Sungyoon stared at Chelsea, and this time Chelsea laughed.
“You’ve really changed. When I had first met you, you were very rigid. However, your face expresses human expressions now.”
Sungyoon had changed, but the changes in his expressions were still very minute.
“You should prepare yourself.”
Chelsea grabbed her cue stick and hit the white ball.
Unlike before, her movements were smooth, and the white ball hit two red balls in succession.
“I held back until now because I knew what you had gone through in the past. However, Jimin has opened pandora’s box. A lot of women will move a bit more aggressive toward you now, and I'm one of them.”
Chelsea winked. Her true beauty suddenly shone through her shabby outer appearance.
“… I’m already married.”
“One marriage is nothing when it comes to a Connector.”
She spoke those words in a playful manner as she once again hit the ball. She then changed the topic.
“It seems you didn’t tell Jimin about the black armor.”
“Yes. It's a sensitive issue.”
“If you're having a hard time telling her, should I talk to her instead?”
Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“You don't have to. I know it’ll be hard for you to speak to her too. I’ll do it.”
“Hmm. As expected, you want me out of it when it has to do with your lovely wife?”
It seemed she would continue to make fun of him for a long time. Sungyoon made his resolve to talk to Jimin.
“Wouldn’t Woosung and Woosang tell her? Ah! Are the two of them also hesitant to tell Jimin, Mr. Sungyoon?”
The two brothers were in Fabion, so Chelsea thought the two of them would know about it.
Sungyoon thought about the meeting with his mothers-in-law where the two brothers had been present.
‘Can this guy make our noona happy?’
This thought was in both brothers' mind. Woosang had continued to observe him, and Woosung complained about Sungyoon.
“The two of them don’t know.”
“They don’t know?”
Chelsea’s eyes widened from surprise.
“I thought Fabion brought their main force to eradicate the black armor and his men?”
“The two of them weren’t there. It's possible Mr. Dongin and Mr. Hyunwoo didn’t include them in the mission. They might have been worried about the two brothers.”
“That kinda makes sense.”
“I don’t think my mothers-in-law know about it either. I’m sure they are keeping it quiet until they are able to get facts.”
Chelsea wiggled her eyebrows when Sungyoon used the term mothers-in-law. Sungyoon silently hit the billiard ball.
It had been a while since the party members were all in the same place. Therefore, they were all very happy to meet each other.
On that night, they had laughed like idiots and talked uproariously. When Chelsea had broken the news about Sungyoon’s marriage, it had surprised everyone, but they soon laughed and congratulated him.
As the night moved on, alcohol was served.
It started at that moment. Sungyoon’s party members became a bit more aggressive. The change was subtle, but it was still a change nonetheless.
Sungyoon had come out to buy a cup of coffee before he entered the labyrinth. He was going over his thoughts as he felt flustered right now. The women in his life had become a bit more open in pursuing him. However, he unexpectedly didn’t feel repulsed by it.
‘Am I completely cured of my distrust of women?’
Even Sungyoon knew it was a serious disease of the mind that he suffered from. However, it hadn’t inconvenienced him, so he had left this mental illness alone.
Did it somehow treat itself? Was he cured?
“A... are you perhaps the Knight?”
As Sungyoon was about to return to his party members after buying the coffee, he heard a hesitant voice.
The coffee shop employee’s eyes shone as she looked at him. This was a common occurrence given Sungyoon's fame. The employee didn’t even wait to listen to Sungyoon’s answer and pushed a pen and paper toward him.
“C-can you please sign this?”
Overall, she was a very cute woman and pretty enough to attract gazes from men.
Sungyoon put his very boring signature on the paper, then left the happy employee. He exited the cafe with his coffee.
‘It isn’t fixed.’
In order to get the signature, the employee had moved closer to him. Sungyoon had barely stopped himself from unconsciously retreating a step back. His distrust of women was still active.
Somehow, this fact gave him a feeling of relief.
The party had entered the Great Labyrinth after a very long time. The familiar humongous labyrinth and the fierce monsters greeted them. The four of them quickly got through the floors they had already cleared, but the Great Labyrinth was so large that it still took them a lot of time to reach the floor where they had left off.
“Even if we have gained the power to clear the Great Labyrinth, it’ll be impossible because of how long it takes.”
Grace calculated how long it had taken them to reach this deep in the labyrinth. She furrowed her brows.
It was a very long time, but if one wanted to clear the Great Labyrinth, it was a short period.
Tim weighed in.
“Even if we ignore the monsters, we won’t be able to reach the lowest floor of the Great Labyrinth in four months. What are the higher-ups thinking?”
“They are strictly thinking about the safety of Earth and Armstrong city. It's hard to fault them for thinking that way.”
As Emily had said, the raid on the Great Labyrinth could only be successful if both Earth and Armstrong city remained standing.
Tim knew that. However, this didn’t mean he liked it.
“If we continue at this rate, we can only clear the Great Labyrinth in our dreams. If something is missing from us, we can fix that. However, what can we do about the lack of time?”
All four of them had received many rights to real estate in Armstrong. They could live a life of luxury even if they never stepped into the Great Labyrinth again, yet they continued to come into the Great Labyrinth. The reason was clear. They wanted to fulfill their goal of clearing the Great Labyrinth.
Emily didn’t have an answer, so she just chewed on her blameless lips.
Everyone looked at Sungyoon when he spoke up.
“Even if we talk about it, we can't solve this problem.”
Sungyoon looked up, and the rest looked up too.
The size of it couldn’t be estimated, but a large body of water was indefinitely floating in the air. Sungyoon's party members shut their mouths at once when they saw this overwhelming sight. They felt an enormous ocean was floating in the air.
“… I wonder what kind of laws of physics the Great Labyrinth follows.”
“Don’t think too hard on it. It’ll just give you a headache.”
Emily and Grace sounded dismayed as they talked to each other.Previous Chapter Next Chapter