Chapter 254

The Shaman Gem was a very rare and special Gem, and only a few of them existed. Their group could travel between the Moon, Earth, and the Great Labyrinth because of it.

“That Gem would have been really helpful to us.”

An expression of loss appeared in Tiotudo’s eyes.

“I'm certain that he went to the capital. A Royal Gem that isn’t fine-tuned leads straight to only one place.”

“The capital….”

Plu-El once again looked toward the room where Aruwen had isolated himself for the past couple of days. Tiotudo stared at the room too.

“Normally, I consider him an ass, but I feel pity for him. He probably feels like his self-identity was stolen.”

“Hmmph. He got what he deserved.”

Plu-El also looked uncomfortable with the situation.

“I’ve always wanted to visit the capital at least once.”

It was the heart of their lost homeland and the home of their hearts. However, there was a more important reason Plu-El and Tiotudo sought to visit the capital.

“If we could gain control over the central system, we wouldn’t have to keep such a low profile.”

Their access to portals could end at any moment, so they had drastically reduced their activities. They didn’t even dare about going to Earth and had limited all their activities on the Moon.

“Is it showing signs of faltering?”

“Thankfully, not yet. Since that man awakened it so quickly, I thought he would gain full access to the system. But I don’t think he has got that far.”

“Even if he is fast, I doubt he’s that fast.”

“Still, you never know. We had given up on the idea of someone awakening the Royal Gem too.”

“Yes. That is true. About that...”

Tiotudo’s mood instantly became heavy.

“He could awaken the Royal Gem in such a short amount of time. It's apparent that he has the potential. However, do you really think his potential was the only factor contributing to it?”

“… What do you mean?”

“As you probably know, most of the special Gems, like your Shaman Gem and my Warrior Gem, lost their power when we were pushed out of our homeland.”

Tap! Tap! Tap!

Tiotudo tapped one of his Gems, which had a copper color. Unlike the Royal Gem and the Shaman Gem, his Gem's color was different from the normal Gems.

“You awakened the Shaman Gem just a while ago, and now the Royal Gem is starting to awaken too. Do you think this is a coincidence?”

“What's on your mind?”

“How did the special Gems lose their power?”

“I thought they had lost it because we lost our homeland.”

Tiotudo narrowed his eyes.

“Are you that naive?”

“Cut the crap! Hurry up and spit it out.”

Plu-El glared at him. Seeing this, Tiotudo was once again reminded of something about her.

‘It's to be expected. She used to be inflexible and was almost on par with Aruwen in that aspect. That characteristic only changed when she met him and had Soyoung.’

No. She was from the shaman family, so her fate was sealed. It was the reason she was more rigid in her thought process than Aruwen. The human named Hahn Jungbum had a big influence on her.

“I think it has to do with the source of magical energy.”

“To seal that bastard, most of the magical energy had to coalesce in the middle, and that's why the basic magical energy needed to activate the Gems was unmet. Are you talking about that theory?”

“Yes.”

Plu-El’s face turned serious. She had thought about this theory in the past and felt that it was persuasive. However, she didn’t want to believe it. If it was true, fear itself would be coming for them in the future. 

The theory's implications for their future meant only a few wanted to believe in it, so this theory had failed to become mainstream.

“If what you say is true, then his seal is unraveling.”

“I don’t know why you're shocked by this.”

Tiotudo spoke so nonchalantly that Plu-El wanted to hit him.

“Including Aruwen, everyone has their blinders on. The evidence is overwhelming. Even his officers have appeared. What more proof do we need? We should be facing this reality instead of avoiding it.”

Tiotudo’s resolute words stabbed deep into Plu-El’s heart.

“… So what should we do?”

Plu-El had always led from the front through sheer toughness, but she now looked as nervous as a hatchling that had fallen from its nest. She shook as she hugged her own body. The idea of the seal unraveling had traumatized her.

“I’m sure of this now.”

Tiotudo opened his mouth.

“We can't do this by ourselves. We need allies, a lot of allies.”

“Allies? Who are you referring to?”

“People like your husband.”

Plu-El was taken aback.

“Are you out of your mind?”

She quickly looked at her surroundings; fortunately, they were alone. As she let out a sigh of relief, she then furiously looked at Tiotudo.

“You better not say such nonsense in front of others. Even if you're a descendent of the warrior clan, they won’t overlook it! Especially Aruwen! He’ll be hopping mad!”

“I don’t care.”

Tiotudo was unaffected by Plu-El’s worries and continued to speak in a calm manner.

“If we don’t cooperate with the outsiders, we’ll never be able to stop the one that will be unsealed. The outsiders and our people will all face their end. I’d rather die early than see that play out.”

“Tiotudo!”

Boom!

Plu-El slammed her hand on the table.

“Don’t you dare say such words flippantly!”

Titotudo was an important friend to her. They were both heirs to their families, so they had grown up together. Their friendship from childhood had continued into their adulthood. Plu-El trusted him the most.

Tiotudo smirked.

Thanks to the influence of Hahn Jungbum, her mind had become flexible. However, it couldn’t completely erase her old self, whom he knew very well.

“I’m only talking about what we have to do in the worst-case scenario.”

He was provokingly calm as he spoke those words, but his demeanor turned serious once again.

“Also, I don't want to die. If we're going to struggle to live, I want all the help we can get. The outsiders are crucial in this struggle for survival.”

“… I doubt any of our comrades would hear you out.”

They would immediately label Tiotudo as a traitor, and Tiotudo would be lucky if they didn’t hang him on the spot.

“It's understandable. If I’m being honest, I don’t have any goodwill toward the outsiders. They slaughtered many of us and chased us deeper into the labyrinth.”

Boo-doo-doohk!

Plu-El ground her teeth. She loved her husband, who was an outsider, but her love didn’t extend to those who had ambushed her people.

“However, both sides are heading toward extinction if we continue down this path. At this point, we have to make the deal with the devil. Moreover, I confirmed it when we had gone to their homeland. Not all of them are bloodthirsty rabid dogs.”

“You're right.”

Soyoung had always been shy and intimidated under the gazes of her own people. It was rare for her to act her age and laugh as she had done on Earth. 

Plu-El thought about the man who had looked out for her daughter. He was also the same person that they had tried to kill earlier. Plu-El let out a sigh.

“We need to join hands with the outsiders. We have to no matter what.”

As if he were trying to solidify his resolve, Tiotudo forcefully spoke.

Plu-El looked at him with a worried gaze.

***

Armstrong city’s defense duty sounded very important, but in reality, the Connectors spent their time in their houses doing nothing. The surveillance outside the city was all automated, and they just had to stay prepared to mobilize for the worst-case scenario.

In other words, the Connectors ate and lazed around for four months.

“I’m getting sick of this.”

While playing poker with Sungyoon to pass the time, Tim spat out his words.

“I wish our standby time would pass sooner.”

Armstrong city was filled with all kinds of entertainment and pleasures. If one had money, one could live a lifestyle more hedonistic than that on Earth. Moreover, Tim was one of those who had the money to do this.

While he was on standby duty, Tim was disciplined. He stayed strictly at home and waited for Armstrong city to call him up. 

Sungyoon glanced at his watch.

“We have four hours left. Let’s just be a bit more patient. Ah! I got a three of a kind.”

“Ughh!”

Tim groaned when he lost four straight hands. He dropped the card in his hands.

“Ah! This is already my fourth loss!”

Tim looked sad as Sungyoon gathered all the money atop the poker table, but the bet was so low that it was hard to call it gambling. Both Sungyoon and Tim were wealthy individuals, so the loss of money didn’t faze them. However, Tim’s pride was hurt when he kept losing to Sungyoon.

“That's why I told you to give it up.”

Emily spoke as she brought out tea and biscuits from the kitchen.

“You always lose to me when we play poker. So why do you still always want to play poker with everyone? Where is that confidence coming from?”

“I studied a lot this time!”

“It doesn’t matter if you study or not. You're terrible at poker.”

“She has a point.”

Sungyoon spoke as he took the refreshments. He then asked.

“Didn’t you either have a one pair or a two pair?”

Tim looked like he was about to cry as he picked up the teacup, but when he heard Sungyoon's words, the shock in his face made it seem as if he had seen a ghost.

“D-do you have a camera installed here somewhere?”

“Why would he need a camera? Your face gives everything away.”

Emily sighed as she picked up her teacup.

“This is why I’m worried he will get swindled if he goes off by himself.”

“Hoo-hoot! In other words, he's an innocent person. Isn’t he better than someone who thinks about personal profit?”

Tim was touched when Grace spoke up for him. However, that was a separate issue from his consecutive losses. He grumbled since he was still having a hard time accepting his defeat.

The boring and peaceful time continued to pass as the pungent smell of the tea spread all over the living room.

“It's quite peaceful. I prefer spending this time of leisure compared to fighting in the labyrinths.”

Emily smelled the fragrant tea as she spoke.

“It's called defense duty, but it's basically a vacation. Armstrong city is far away from Gagarin·Yang city, which is crawling with monsters. The odds of something drastic happening—”

Ddee-dee-dee-dee-dee! Ddee-dee-dee-dee-dee!

The distinct ringing of the communication device cut off Tim’s words. The party looked at each other, and Sungyoon stood up and picked up the phone.

“Hello.”

After conversing on the phone for a while, Sungyoon ended the call and glanced at his party members.

“We have been ordered to mobilize.”

Tim shut his mouth as everyone looked at him. Emily’s expression was quite a spectacle.

“You should learn to keep your mouth shut.”

Tim lamented as he nodded.

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