The screen showed three spires, each easily distinguishable from one another. Most of the building was colored in red, while two rooms, the one where the party had teleported to and the one they were currently in, were colored in blue.
The holograms showing these images were something commonly seen in Sci-Fi movies. When Sungyoon placed his hand on one, it dispersed. When he retracted his hand, however, it reformed itself.
“What the hell is it?”
“What’s going on here?”
His three companions asked. As a response, Sungyoon pointed to the mysterious Gold Gem.
“It suddenly started to vibrate, so I infused magical energy inside it. It was a hunch, but this device reacted to it.”
“The Gold Gem once again.”
Grace was impressed, but she also became a bit suspicious of the Gold Gem.
The light and the vibration spread to the other devices in the room, and after a while, the mysterious blue light had seized all the devices. Sungyoon was the reason behind these devices' activation, yet he had no idea what these devices were used for or how to use them.
Tim put his face close to the operating device.
“What kind of device is this?”
“Don't be so reckless! Don’t touch it!”
“I already know that.”
Emily grabbed Tim’s thick arm and prevented him from doing anything unnecessary. Tim had no intention of touching it, but it was also true that they couldn’t just stand there doing nothing.
These devices might be the key to their return.
After glancing at all the devices, Grace moved up next to Sungyoon.
“Does it recognize you?”
Since Sungyoon had activated the machines, Grace wondered if they would respond to him. She spoke in a hushed voice full of anticipation.
“Please wait a moment.”
Sungyoon raised his hand as if to ask for some more time. He felt that he could see a vague dark shape within a white fog. Until now, the Gold Gem had hidden its secrets to him, but a strand of that secret had been revealed.
“… This machine creates portals?”
Sungyoon mumbled to himself. Grace stopped paying attention to the devices, and the Ross siblings stopped bickering; they all focused on Sungyoon.
“Portal? Do you mean the portal that brought us here? I knew it was a portal.”
“It was the obvious answer, right?”
The Ross siblings discussed the topic in soft voices.
Grace spoke up as the representative.
“When you say portal, are you referring to the blue ball of light that allowed us to escape our enemies?”
Sungyoon could barely organize the newly-formed memories in his head as he answered her.
“You stole this Gem from the ambushers, right? It now makes sense how they can appear and disappear from unexpected locations.”
It was an amazing discovery. If humanity could harness the power of the portal technology, the paradigm of labyrinth runs would be changed forever. Sungyoon could guarantee it.
“So great! Our lives will be so much easier if we can use this!”
“We won’t have to pay an enormous sum of money to take a roundtrip on a spaceship!”
The Ross siblings felt great thinking they could do their work in comfort. Unlike them, Sungyoon and Grace had a serious expression on their faces.
“It sounds like a dangerous technology.”
“It is a dangerous technology.”
“Why is it dangerous?”
The siblings hadn’t put much thought into the implications of this technology, and they shut their mouths when the atmosphere around them turned serious.
“Ah. It’ll be dangerous if some terrorists used this technology for evil.”
Sungyoon had experienced an attack from a terrorist organization. As Emily recalled that incident, her expression turned ugly.
Sungyoon and Grace nodded.
“That is part of it. However, the true danger lies elsewhere.”
“This technology directly challenges those with a vested interest in moonstones.”
Vested interests in moonstones.
That phrase made the Ross siblings think.
Moonstone acquisition was the most profitable business on Earth, and an incredible number of businesses and individuals had a vested interest in it. Of course, this group included Connectors too since they gathered the moonstones. Then there were the people who provided service to the Connectors in Armstrong.
An incredible amount of manpower and money was needed to maintain a city as large as Armstrong. Moreover, there was still the transportation industry specializing in connecting Earth to Armstrong and the Moon.
A lot of livelihoods were dependent on the item called moonstone.
“What would happen if the portal technology became popular, and one could directly connect the Earth to the Moon?”
“First, it’ll have a major effect on any business related to the spaceship industry. Moreover, the moonstone transport business will go bankrupt. With the emergence of an alternate form of travel that’s much faster than a spaceship, it’ll be the end of them. Also, Connectors would be able to freely travel between the Earth and the Moon. They won't have to waste time going to Armstrong. Why would they spend on the services provided by Armstrong when Earth has better and cheaper services. What would happen to Armstrong then?”
When Grace reached that point in her explanation, Tim and Emily finally picked up the implications they had failed to spot.
“Are you saying it might ruin Armstrong city?”
Emily asked in a serious voice.
“Of course, it won’t disappear. However, it’ll never be like what it's right now. It’ll probably function as a base like how it was initially intended to be.”
Armstrong city’s time as the Lunar city would come to an end.
Tim gulped at the thought of it.
“It really is a dangerous technology.”
Everyone silently looked between Sungyoon’s Gold Gem and the equipment in question.
“Well, let’s not worry too much about it for now. The scenario described by Ms. Grace can only happen if anyone can freely use this portal technology.”
Sungyoon tried to improve the mood.
“That’s true. What do you think, Mr. Sungyoon? It seems the Gem finally gave you some information. Will it be enough to ruin Armstrong?”
Grace tried to speak with a lighter tone as she asked the question.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t give me all the info. It almost makes me wonder if it's making fun of me. It doesn’t like showing any info about itself.”
Sungyoon tapped the Gold Gem.
“It only sent me the memory of how to get out of this city using the portal.”
“That should be enough for now.”
“So we can get out of here?”
Tim rejoiced. He hadn’t voiced it out loud, but he had been very stressed being in an unknown location with no clear exit.
“Let’s hurry up and leave this place then.”
They had fought consecutive life-threatening battles before being sent to this ancient city, and the portal that sent them here could shift the paradigm of labyrinth raids. Tim’s head hurt a lot from thinking about all this. If it were any normal day, he would've dropped everything at this point and gone to sleep.
“We'll do that. However, we have to do something on the topmost floor before that.”
Tim led the way. Emily looked exasperated by Tim as she followed him. Sungyoon and Grace brought up the rear. The building had three spires, but the party had business in just one of them.
When they arrived at the top of the spire, they opened the door.
“There’s another one.”
A Skeleton was residing inside the room. Tim quickly approached it and bashed it with his shield.
As always, the Skeleton crumbled with the blow.
Sungyoon headed toward the corner of the room. He was trying to take measures so that they could head back to where they came from.
"Huh? What is this?”
Grace had found something. The party followed her gaze.
“… Is it a wall painting?”
The paintings on the wall weren’t a great work of art. It wasn't the fault of the artist, as it seemed everything had been done in a rush. The drawings were very rough. However, the pictures were clear enough to be recognized. For some reason, Sungyoon couldn’t turn his gaze away from them.
‘I believe this is the beginning.’
Sungyoon looked at the left-most painting. Naturally, his party turned to that painting too.
Their eyes fell upon a peaceful sight. The people in the cities and towns looked happy. The buildings in the painting looked like those in the ancient city. Sunlight was shining on the people, and everyone was smiling.
‘The next one….’
An abrupt change had happened between the two paintings. In the second one, people were crying and screaming and the cities and towns were burning. The drawing depicted people cutting each other down with sharp blades.
“A war broke out.”
Emily covered her mouth with her hand. Sungyoon frowned when he saw the crying children, and he took another step to the side.
‘What the hell is this?’
Something odd had appeared. The background was the same as in the first picture, a peaceful sight, but one thing was different. The picture contained another thing.
That was the only word that fit the figure. It was huge, several times larger than the mountain drawn next to the city.
‘What the hell is this….’
Sungyoon called it a creature, but the creature wasn’t drawn properly. The shadow looked like what would happen if energy coalesced into a formless shape. Sungyoon felt that the artist had been so afraid that he couldn’t draw the creature. However, the two red eyes in the middle of its body were as clear as they could be.
Sungyoon took another step to the side, and the other three followed suit. At some point, they had stopped talking to each other.
The creature within the picture was going on a rampage, and the monsters had joined it. Cities and towns had been destroyed, while many tried to escape. The people who had previously fought each other joined forces to fight the creature, but they died.
Sungyoon moved on to the next picture.
He saw numerous people surrounding the creature.
These people were armed to the teeth, and they fought the creature with their lives. The creature slaughtered all of them. However, the people didn’t give up. They continued to sacrifice their lives and attack the creature.
In the same painting, Sungyoon and the others saw a group standing some distance away from the fight. Each of them held a staff, and they were focused on something.
The party took another step.
The land within this painting was floating in the air, and an enormous amount of earth and rocks filled the air. The people fighting the creature, the creature, the monsters, the people with the staff, the cities, and towns, all were on this mass of land.
They moved to the next painting.
The surface of the floating land bent in on itself and solidified with the creature at the center. It looked as if the land was trying to imprison the creature. The creature fought against its imprisonment, but its fearsome power could do nothing in front of the size of the land.
The four took the final step and looked at the last painting.
The ground was empty except for primitive people. As these people hunted and gathered food, they looked up into the sky. The round sun was setting in the west, and another celestial body floated in the sky.
Sungyoon’s party saw the creature and the monsters buried by an enormous mass that was emitting a cold silver light.
Chelsea's words came uninvited to Sungyoon's mind. He recalled that she told him about the most likely hypothesis regarding the formation of the Moon.
‘The Moon had broken away from Earth.’Previous Chapter Next Chapter