Chapter 246

Ggwah-ahk!

Aruwen clenched his fists. His eyes turned bloodshot as he ground his teeth. Everyone else in his group kept glancing at him. 

“Did that man just use the Royal Gem? It wasn’t an automatic response like before. He activated it through his own will.”

“Why is it awakening so fast? Didn't we lose it just a while ago?”

Whispers rank amok. However, when Aruwen glared at them, most of them stopped talking.  A few didn’t care about Aruwen’s feelings, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they disliked him.

“Even amongst the old royal family, he's talented enough to be recognized as a once-in-a-generation talent.”

“If he had been born in a better environment when the old royal family flourished, he might have been extraordinary.”

Tiotudo and Plu-El shared their opinions. Of course, Aruwen glared at them too, but the two met his gaze with confidence. In fact, their attitude was taunting him.

“It's too bad. If the Leviathan had killed him, we would no longer have to pay attention to him.”

Tiotudo grumbled, while Plu-El unconsciously nodded.

In order to kill the silver-armored man, the group had gone on an information-gathering mission. They easily found what they needed. Their opponent was famous, and his name was Woo Sungyoon. When they had seen his face, Plu-El had become surprised, and an odd smirk had appeared on Aruwen’s lips.

Their opponent was the man who had looked out for Soyoung at the zoo.

Plu-El had been sad that she had to kill someone who had looked after Soyoung. On the other hand, Aruwen was overjoyed at the fact that he could kill someone who had been rude to him.

‘If he had died to the Leviathan, I wouldn’t have had to fight him...’

It was dirty and hypocritical for her to think this way. Plu-El knew this. However, it was ok even if she were being a hypocrite.

“Let’s go.”

They had to hit their opponent before he could recover. Aruwen was raring to go as he gestured with his hand.

But, Tiotudo got in his way.

“He activated the Royal Gem, yet you want to fight him? Are you out of your mind?”

“Shut your mouth if you don’t know what you are talking about.”

Aruwen had been annoyed by Tiotudo's interruption, and he continued speaking.

“The Royal Gem is beyond formidable. Do you think that he can freely use it? He just awakened to it, so he can only use its power for a brief moment. It's a completely different scenario from when he activated it in response to that ‘thing'.”

Even though he couldn’t use it, Aruwen was very knowledgeable about the Royal Gem. He knew it precisely because he couldn't use it. Imagining the day when he could use it, Aruwen had memorized all the special characteristics of the Royal Gem.

“This is better for us. In the early stages of awakening the Royal Gem, the user suffers from a state of lethargy that lasts for a while. We’ll be able to easily kill him.”

As Aruwen had said, Sungyoon wasn't in a good state. He sat on the floor and clutched at his chest; his body also swayed back and forth. 

Aruwen pointed at Sungyoon to make his point, then walked ahead.

***

“Hoo-ooh! Hoo-ooh!”

Sungyoon clutched at his chest and took deep breaths.

The sound of the heartbeat had disappeared, and so had the power in his body. After all of it had gone away, pain and lethargy had suddenly taken over his body. Despite not needing to, Sungyoon unconsciously took deep breaths.

“Are you hurt? Are you injured somewhere?”

His party members had been blankly staring at the corpse of the Leviathan when Sungyoon had slumped. It had surprised them. Grace helped Sungyoon get up, and Emily quickly cast her healing spell.

However, it was useless.

“I’m not injured. I think it's the aftermath of using the power with which I killed the Leviathan.”

Sungyoon sat back down and unsummoned his armor. He felt worse being trapped within the small confines of his armor.

“As expected, Mr. Sungyoon defeated the Leviathan!”

Tim was also worried about Sungyoon, but his eyes shone. He looked between Sungyoon and the decapitated body of the Leviathan. Admiration toward Sungyoon surged in his eyes. However, Sungyoon barely registered Tim’s respectful gaze.

‘As expected, this Gem caused it?’

He looked down at his mysterious Gold Gem.

With time, his body started to recover, but the lethargy didn't leave him. It seemed the party would have to end the Labyrinth run on this floor. Sungyoon put away the large moonstone of the Leviathan that Tim had given him. He was about to discuss their labyrinth run when something caught his attention.

Chul-kuhk! Chul-kuhk!

Hearing the sound of metal clashing against the floor, the party turned toward the source.

“What the hell? That surprised me.”

When he realized his opponents weren’t monsters, Tim relaxed. However, Grace and Emily reacted differently. Emily nudged Tim.

“Don’t let your guard down.”

“Who cares? We’ve come across a lot of parties in the Beginner’s labyrinth. This is no different.”

“As I’ve said, the only party to trust in this labyrinth is your own.”

“Mmm.”

Tim thought Emily was overreacting, but he could see that her words made sense. Therefore, he took a firmer grip of his ax.

“… We are surrounded.”

When they heard Grace’s words, Tim and Emily quickly looked around. Even if he wasn’t feeling good, Sungyoon couldn't continue to stay on the floor. He pushed his struggling body and stood up.

“What business do you have with us?”

Grace asked the question to the approaching group. However, no one replied to her. Grace was about to repeat the question when Sungyoon stopped her. He placed a hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t bother, Ms. Grace.”

Sungyoon pointed to the side. As her gaze followed his finger, Grace’s eyes turned round. Some of the people in this group were familiar to her. One of them was a man clad in black armor and wielding a black greatsword. Another was an archer holding a large bow.

‘They were the ones who ambushed Mr. Sungyoon and Armstrong's research team.’

The ambushers didn’t say anything and prepared to attack. Sungyoon’s party bunched up in one location and they got ready to defend. It was unclear as to which group had the upper hand.

‘There are eleven of them.’

Sungyoon moved his exhausted body as he counted the number of ambushers. The number made their prospects dismal. If their opponents were low in rank, they could overcome this number, but this wasn't the case.

“Ms. Grace. Please prepare something big. Mr. Tim, you must always play defense.”

“Understood. But I don’t know if my Gems will last.”

Tim looked worried as he watched his overclocked Gems.

“We're all in the same boat, and there are no alternatives.”

“It can’t be helped.”

It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that Sungyoon’s party was a veteran party. They had defeated the Leviathan, albeit barely. Although the appearance of an unknown hostile group when they were dead tired had discouraged them, the party didn’t despair.

The battle started.

Sungyoon saw several of his foes prepare spells, so he threw his halberd and ax toward them.

Kah-ahng! Kah-ahng!

A series of clangs rang out. The weapons thrown by Sungyoon were blocked by those tasked with protecting the spell casters. At the same time, the ambushers tasked with attacking Sungyoon’s party charged forward.

Kwahng! Kwahng!

The violent clangs shook the surrounding as Sungyoon groaned while blocking a scythe. 

‘Heavy.’

Sungyoon's body felt heavy, and the attack felt heavy. He had barely lifted his shield and blocked the attacks. The thought of counterattacking didn't cross his mind. As he deflected each attack, Sungyoon glanced at his party members. Tim was faring much better than him.

However, that was it. He was still fighting a hard battle. The biggest problem was Emily.

Kwahng!

“Kyaa!”

Emily staggered each time a mace struck her shield.

Since they were surrounded, they had to protect Grace to let her prepare her spell. Therefore, Emily had to take up her shield too. 

Emily had always been prepared for the unexpected. She had a high-rank shield and tried to improve her defense every chance she got. Of course, this was only done to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Sungyoon and Tim were having a hard time in their fights, while Emily was barely holding on.

‘Tsk!’

Sungyoon quickly raised his ax.

Kwahng!

He deflected the sword coming at Emily from the side.

‘They are starting to focus their attack on Ms. Emily.’

The ambushers had realized the weak link of the party. The number of attacks being sent toward Emily increased. Sungyoon and Tim were nearby, and they had to help her. However, this meant they fared worse in their own fights.

As if things couldn’t get any worse for Sungyoon's party, the ambushers finished their spells first. The close-ranged fighters stopped advancing all at once and moved away from Sungyoon’s party.

Chwahk!

White bubbles started to form in the nearest water droplet. Then, as if the water had a life of its own, it elongated and shot toward Sungoon’s party like a tsunami.

“Shit!”

Tim stepped forward to block the tsunami. Sungyoon hugged Grace and Emily and added his strength by pushing against Tim’s back.

Kwahhhhhhhhh!

In a flash, Sungyoon’s party disappeared into the water. The water from the tsunami raged as it indiscriminately flowed into the other water droplets.

Chwahhhhk!

The tsunami had appeared in a flash, and it disappeared in a flash. The remaining water crawled toward the nearest water droplets to be absorbed as if it were following a law.

Sungyoon and the others had fallen to the floor. 

“Oooh!”

The party groaned. Underneath the water, several hundred mini swirling torrents had assaulted them. If they hadn't been wearing armor, their bodies would have been ripped apart. Fortunately, they had avoided being separated from each other in the rough currents. It counted as a blessing in a misfortune.

However, the ambushers' attack had yet to end.

Puh-ung!

A fireball shot toward them like a comet.

“Koo-ook!”

Tim swayed on his feet as he got up. He pushed his shield forward.

Kwahhhhng!

“Koo-ahhhhhhhk!”

Fortunately, he had blocked the fireball. However, in the process, the impact had sent him flying away as his body emanated steam.

“Tim!”

Emily desperately crawled toward him as she prepared her healing magic. Tim rolled on the ground due to the pain. 

Grace started preparing the spell that had been canceled due to the previous attack. However, she knew she wouldn’t be able to get it off in time. Moreover, someone interfered with her casting too.

Shoohk!

A cold-hearted arrow flew toward Grace. Sungyoon stood in front of her and quickly raised his shield.

Kwahng!

“Koo-ook!”

The power behind the arrow was incredible, and it flung Sungyoon to the ground.

“Mr. Sungyoon!”

Grace screamed. Emily, who had been healing Tim, had no idea what to do. 

Sungyoon grabbed at his left arm, which had blocked the attack.

‘It’s broken!’

He quickly activated his healing magic, and the pain slowly subsided. However, the situation remained the same.

Clank! Clank!

The ominous sound of metal clanking against each other was getting closer and closer as the ambushers rushed toward Sungyoon’s party. And this time, the black-armored man was leading the charge.

‘Shit!’

Sungyoon stood up once again, but there was no strength in his body. It would be impossible to fight with his body in this state. The idea that he could die here danced in his mind.

Of course, the first image that appeared in his mind was Shinhae. Then, the face of Jimin also popped up in his mind.

‘I’m about to die right after I remarry?’

Did he have the devil’s own luck when it came to marriage? He was in danger, but Sungyoon let out a sigh. This had the effect of clearing his mind, and his thoughts turned cold.

‘Yes. I can’t die here like this.’

He had to live for his daughter. He had to live for his wife. However, this didn't change the fact that he was out of options. 

‘The only thing I can trust is this.’

Since Sungyoon had nothing to lose, he sent his magical energy into the mysterious Gold Gem, but the Gem didn’t show any reactions.

‘I guess it won’t work.’

Just as that thought came to his mind—

Woooooooong!

A blue light rippled next to him.

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