“I believe that the ambushers are using this method to get around. I wonder if the monsters that appear on Earth use a similar method. However, you're right to think about that, Mayor. If we learn how to use it, it will deal a big blow to Armstrong's very existence.”
The faces of everyone except the Mayor hardened. A faint smile appeared on the Mayor’s lips.
“As expected, you thought that far. The existence of portals is very dangerous, especially so for Armstrong city.”
“If portals can connect Earth to the Moon, Armstrong city won't be needed.”
In that case, Sungyoon could always live in the same house as Shinhae. Why would he take up the option to live in Armstrong city?
‘I sometimes want to show space to Shinhae. I guess I would keep a vacation home up here.’
Emily, who had been silently listening to the conversation, hesitantly put her hand up in the air.
“Still, it can’t be all bad. This discovery doesn’t change the fact that Armstrong is the closest city to the labyrinths. It’ll be cheaper to develop and repair the city, and I’m sure that a lot of money can be made from tourism.”
She had a point.
The Mayor had already thought through that scenario, and he remained silent. The one to reply was Sungyoon.
“However, the methods of harvesting money from Connectors would go away. Moreover, the Connectors are desperate to get their hands on moonstones only because the price to live on Armstrong is so high. The portals mean that the carrot used to control Connectors goes away, and it would weaken the hold on Connectors as a whole.”
In terms of purchasing power, Connectors possessed incredible wealth and fighting power. Armstrong city kept this group in check by using the harsh environment of the Moon.
Emily belatedly realized that this situation was much more complex, so she shut her mouth.
A shallow smile appeared on the Mayor’s lips.
“You're correct. That's why I would like to ask you all a favor.”
“You want us to hide the existence of the portal?”
“What are you talking about?”
Before Sungyoon could answer, Grace spoke up. Her voice was sharp, and she was glaring at the Mayor.
“This will make the lives of Connectors easier, yet you want to keep it in the bottle? You're doing so Armstrong city gets to keep its power?”
“We do not plan on blocking it forever.”
The Mayor lowered his tone of voice and spoke gently. He didn’t buy Grace's ire.
“It's true that if this information can be used properly, it would be beneficial to Armstrong city. It's always the case when a new technology is developed. We don’t plan on burying the existence of the portal. However, revealing it might cause mass confusion in Armstrong city, and you know it too. We would like some time so that we can minimize this confusion.”
Grace’s eyes softened, and the Mayor continued to speak.
“This confusion isn’t a good thing. Only the four of you have gone through a portal, and right now, Mr. Sungyoon can't open the portal on demand. Even if he could get a perfect handle on using the Gem, we don't know whether the portal will allow mass use or not. For now, only Mr. Sungyoon is capable of using the portal, and if that remains to be true, it will be a privilege that only he has.
“At the end of the day, I just want to reduce the confusion. If you can’t accept this explanation, I'm willing to release this information when Mr. Sungyoon is fully capable of opening the portal. When he gets full control of the Gem, I'm willing to revisit this topic once again with you.”
Sungyoon crossed his arms as he thought about it. If he were being honest, he didn’t care about what happened to others. His family was Shinhae and Jimin, and then there were his comrades and friends. If no harm came to them, he was willing to be flexible in this matter.
Moreover, the Mayor's explanation made sense. He wanted to punt the problem down the road because it might cause harm to the bystanders.
“I want to ask what is your plan on dealing with the ambushers.”
In some ways, that was the most important issue for Sungyoon.
“As you probably know, I stole this Gem from them. I believe this is how they suddenly appear and disappear within the labyrinths. Are you sure we don’t have to notify others about this?”
“We decided it’ll be fine if we don’t.”
The Mayor had already thought this through, and he immediately answered.
“Even now, everyone already knows that the ambushers use a special transportation method. Many Connectors are guessing that this method is a teleportation ability.”
Sungyoon’s party had come to the same guess before their discovery.
“It wouldn't matter much to the Connectors even if we give them this information about the ambushers because we don't have a way to deal with it. That's why I believe there is more harm than good when it comes to notifying the public. Of course, we'll send out the news that Mr. Sungyoon’s party was ambushed in the Great Labyrinth, and this will make the other Connectors raise their guards.”
Whether it was the right or wrong answer didn't matter. The Mayor’s reasoning made sense.
“What do you think?”
“I’m fine with it.”
Sungyoon spoke first.
“I’m fine with it too.”
The Ross siblings agreed with Sungyoon. Everyone looked toward Grace. In such a situation, most would feel the peer pressure to agree with the group, yet Grace boldly looked at the Mayor.
“Is that a promise?”
“If you aren’t satisfied with a verbal agreement, I can write up a contract for you.”
Hearing the Mayor calmly speak, Grace finally nodded.
Sungyoon and the Ross siblings raided the Great Labyrinth for personal reasons. Unlike them, Grace did it for her duty to her country, and on top of that, she had a strong sense of justice. Sungyoon knew this was why Grace was pushing back so hard on the Mayor.
Her agreement brought the discussion to a close. Everyone in the room relaxed a little bit, but one person in the room still had business with Sungyoon.
“Excuse me, Mr. Sungyoon.”
The Director spoke.
“Do you plan on raiding the Great Labyrinth once again?”
“If I have it my way, I would like to.”
Sungyoon vaguely answered.
“Are you worried about the ambushers?”
“Of course. I can’t help it. We’ve already come across them three times. The first two encounters might not have anything to do with us, but they were definitely aiming for us on our third encounter.”
“I’m guessing that item is the reason?”
The Director looked at the Gold Gem on the desk.
“I believe so. The probability is high.”
“If so, why don’t you take a little break from raiding the Great Labyrinth?”
These words put Sungyoon at a loss.
“I have thought about doing that, but I'm restricted by the number of days I can enter the labyrinth.”
Sungyoon's party had been lucky with their escape. Their opponents weren’t monsters that waited within their territory to mindlessly attack Connectors. Their opponents were humans, who were moving with a clear goal in mind. If the ambushers were targeting the party, it would be dangerous to continue their labyrinth runs.
“That is why I’m bringing this up. Why don’t you flip his schedule?”
The Director was speaking to Sungyoon, but he was also speaking it for the Mayor’s ears. The Director then turned his gaze toward the Mayor.
The Mayor requested the Director.
“We flip the time when Mr. Sungyoon has to defend Armstrong and when he raids the labyrinth. If Mr. Sungyoon is defending Armstrong, the ambushers won’t dare to attack him as he won't be the only one defending the city. Moreover, he can get used to the portal Gem in this period.”
“You want to buy some time.”
“I believe that's the best option right now.”
The Mayor thought for a brief moment.
“You have a point. He has a good reason to do so, and it isn’t a big deal to arrange it. I’m sure some Connectors would want to switch roles if we look for them.”
The Mayor turned his head toward Sungyoon.
“The most important thing is what you want, Mr. Sungyoon. Personally, I think it's a good suggestion.”
Sungyoon looked at his comrades, and it seemed they were in favor of the suggestion. It was to be expected. The ambush had disturbed their state of mind.
‘I’m just buying time. Still...’
This suggestion would be better than entering the Great Labyrinth without making any preparation. Moreover, by buying time, Sungyoon could solve something else.
“Does anyone object?”
All his party members shook their heads.
“Since everyone agrees, we'll gladly accept your kindness, Mayor.”
“Then it's decided. For the rest of your stay here, please cooperate in defending Armstrong.”
The meeting came to an end.
Although Sungyoon's party had decided to postpone entering the labyrinth, their worries were unfounded. The ambushers weren’t in a good state right now.
“How many days has it been?”
Tiotudo and Plu-El ate a late lunch.
“What about Aruwen?”
“He’s still the same.”
Tiotudo chewed on some unknown meat.
“He's still in his room.”
“It seems he was very shocked by what had happened.”
“The portal function of the Royal Gem was the first ability his family had lost. It had stopped working as soon as we left our homeland. And now, someone he considers a plebeian awakened the Royal Gem. Moreover, the very first ability he used was the portal function.”
Normally, Plu-El and Tiotudo hated elitism, but they sympathized with Aruwen in this instance.
“The base of his beliefs were shaken. It can’t be helped.”
Of course, Plu-El also thought that Aruwen had brought this on himself.
“Still, we can’t think of it as other people’s business.”
“You're right. I never expected that man to activate the portal function.”
Plu-El raised her wrist to look at the Gems embedded in her bracelet-type Device. Tiotudo's and her gaze fell at one particular Gem. It was a silver Gem, but one could sometimes see glimpses of a blue color mixed in with the silver.
“The Royal Gem is higher in rank than your Shaman Gem. Once it starts awakening in earnest, it’ll be very dangerous.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter