Chapter 262

As he entered the spire, Sungyoon observed that nothing had changed here, whether it be the space where he poured the moonstones in or the wall paintings.

“Ah! You're here, Mr. Sungyoon?”

Feeling Sungyoon's presence, Chelsea stopped sketching the design of the moonstone equipment and turned around to look at him. The Director was next to her, and his face lit up on seeing Sungyoon.

“Mr. Sungyoon! I’m glad you're here. I have a request.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“You said you activated part of the device’s function by pouring moonstone into this compartment?”

“That's correct.”

“I’m sorry to ask this of you, but do you mind putting more moonstone there?”

According to the information provided by Sungyoon, this machine had provided energy to the other devices in the building. The Director assumed that it was likely that this machine was the fuel tank for the building, and with more fuel, it might show more changes.

“Of course not. However, does it have to be me? Couldn’t someone else do it?”

“Mr. Sungyoon, you found this device, and you activated it. Wouldn’t the chances of it working be higher with you?”

‘He has a point.’

Sungyoon didn’t hesitate as he took out a moonstone from his storage Gem. However, the Director stopped him.

“Please, not right now. I would like you to do it later. We would like to conduct an experiment where we put in different quality and type of moonstones. I want to see if there is a difference if we put in processed and unprocessed moonstones, moonstones from the regular labyrinths, and moonstones from the Great Labyrinth.”

“I see.”

Sungyoon put away his moonstone.

“Did you find anything new?”

“Nothing meaningful.”

Until now, McGregor looked like a child in a candy store, but that happy look instantly vanished. Chelsea went through a similar transformation.

“Nevertheless, we did determine that this city wasn’t probably built here.”

“What do you mean wasn’t built here?”

“That is….”

The director’s gaze moved, and Sungyoon naturally followed his eyes. The ominous paintings appeared in their vision.

“It looks as if this city was thrown into the air and shoved into the labyrinth.”

At first glance, it looked like the city was meant to be built as a big rectangular city. However, its edges are abruptly cut off and fused to the wall. Moreover, the borders are broken in an irregular manner. The heavy damage suggests that the city was forcefully shoved into the labyrinth. 

Sungyoon’s expression hardened as he understood the implications of the Director's words.

“Are you saying the wall paintings might be depicting the truth?”

“I can’t give you a decisive answer yet.”

“I had hoped you would answer in the negative...”

Sungyoon looked at the paintings once again, and his gaze fell at the center of the Moon, where the creature was struggling in confinement.

***

Plu-El’s head hurt thinking about what to do. After Tiotudo died, the morale of her people had tanked. Moreover, the opinion on what they should do in the future started to split with small disputes breaking out. At such times in a group, the leaders would mediate and guide the people. However, the leaders of this group were also in a state of confusion.

Plu-El, Aruwen, and Tiotudo.

The three of them had once stepped up to take leadership roles. Tiotudo had died. Aruwen had once again shut himself in his room. The only one left was Plu-El, but she was still shocked because of her friend's death. She wasn’t in a state where she could lead her comrades.

‘What should I do?’

Even as her head ached, Plu-El was doing her best to come up with a solution, but her head was too cluttered.

“Mom?”

A small girl walked up next to Plu-El, who was holding her head.

“Soyoung!”

Plu-El immediately wiped away all signs of worry from her face and displayed a smile. Nevertheless, she failed in fooling her daughter, who kept looking at her face from all angles. When Plu-El saw this, the smile on her lips deepened.

“Are you hurt, Mom?”

“No. Mom is fine.”

Plu-El hugged and patted her daughter’s back. Even if things were tough, with her daughter, she felt she could overcome anything. That was what it meant to be a parent. That was what it meant to be a mother.

Knock! Knock!

A sound interrupted Plu-El from enjoying her cute daughter’s warmth. She frowned as she spoke.

“Who is it?”

“It’s me, Plu-El.”

Plu-El’s face hardened, while Soyoung shrank back. Without even waiting for Plu-El's answer, the man entered through the door. Plu-El's face crumpled when he entered her house without permission.

“What brings you here, Aruwen?”

Her voice turned cold without her realizing it. Soyoung flinched in surprise in her arms. Plu-El continued to pat the child’s back, but she didn’t stop glaring at Aruwen.

“I have something I want to say to you.”

Aruwen looked at Soyoung.

“I would like you to send Soyoung into her room for a brief moment.”

Plu-El and Soyoung were both surprised.

Whenever Aruwen looked at Soyoung, his eyes were always filled with acrimony, and he never called her by her name. However, he had just said 'Soyoung'. His voice had been quiet, but there was no denying he had said it.

“Will you go into your room for a moment, Soyoung?”

Soyoung nodded and left her mother’s arms. She almost ran toward her room. As she closed the door, she looked at Aruwen with a flustered expression.

“What is it?”

Plu-El crossed her arms and looked up at Aruwen. No, she glared at him. It was good that Aruwen had softened his attitude toward Soyoung, but it wasn’t good enough to change Plu-El’s attitude toward him. His actions had been too dumb and reckless.

“I’m here to talk about what we should do.”

Aruwen pulled out a chair as he sat down. Plu-El’s eyebrows twitched, but she didn’t say anything about it.

“What’s on your mind?”

She accepted the fact that both of them had to think about the future of their people. However, she decided to punch him on his detestable chin if he spoke nonsense again.

‘You're the reason Tiotudo is gone.’

She inwardly ground her teeth.

“I want to make contact with the one who has the Royal Gem.”

Bamboo-doohk!

Strength went into her fists.

‘Is he still thinking about that right now?’

Plu-El knew Aruwen was obsessed with the Royal Gem, but she hadn’t expected him to continue his obsession even after what had happened.

‘Tiotudo died because of it!’

Even if he apologized a hundred times, it wouldn’t be enough. Yet, he had spoken about a subject that he should have dropped.

“… In the end, that's all you think about.”

Tiotudo had given up his life to save him, but Aruwen hadn’t changed. Plu-El no longer hesitated and pulled back her hand to swing her fist.

“No. That's not what I meant.”

Aruwen spoke faster than she could act, and his expression became plaintive.

“I want to talk to him because I want to seek his help. I want to carry out the plan you and Tiotudo had suggested before.”

Plu-El’s cocked-back fist froze, and her clear eyes widened.

***

Sungyoon walked through downtown Armstrong city. This past month, he had been with the researchers and his other fellow Connectors in the ancient city. The empty and silent ancient city had greeted him every day. And that was why a ripe smell was coming off his body when he had returned.

Many of the Connectors and researchers had been rotated out through the portal, but Sungyoon had to stay in the ancient city. His party members would never leave without him, so they had to also stay in the ancient city for a month. Even Armstrong's higher-ups knew this was too much, so they gave a break to Sungyoon and his party.

The duration of the break was only two days, and the portal would be unusable during this time. However, the researchers didn’t really care. They could stay in the ancient city and continue their research for two days. In reality, most of them hadn’t rotated out to Armstrong city. They pretty much lived in the ancient city now, and this was true regarding the Connectors too.

Sungyoon's party needed a consensus from everyone involved to acquire this break, so it tasted sweet as it could be.  

Currently, Sungyoon had come out to buy some groceries since he was in charge of cooking today. He went down the familiar path toward a grocery store.

“Welcome!”

The employee let out a bright smile as she greeted him. Sungyoon picked up the ingredients he wanted. This store had as many food items as the supermarkets on Earth. The quality of the ingredients was inferior, but it was acceptable since they were on the Moon.

Of course, the prices were crazy high.

Sungyoon picked up a basket.

‘Three hundred and ninety, eight hundred and seventy, one thousand twelve hundred fifty-two…’

Sungyoon kept a tally of the price of each ingredient he put in the basket. Even though he had put in only a few items, the price had ballooned to an extraordinary amount.

‘If I shoplift a couple dozen of them, I’ll basically be a thief that stole a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of food.’

Sungyoon didn’t hesitate to pick up these items. He had the money to buy it. Although it would last only a couple of days, he bought it. When he was done, he took his heavy basket to the counter and gave his card to the employee.

The receipt printed the price of tens of thousands of dollars, yet he didn’t even spare a glance and shoved it into his pocket. Just as he was about to leave, he had to stop.

“Excuse me.”

Someone tapped Sungyoon’s back, and Sungyoon turned around.

“You are….”

A stunning woman appeared in his sight, and Sungyoon became interested in her, but that was only because he had met her before.

“Soyoung’s mother?”

“You remembered me.”

The woman smiled.

“It's because Soyoung was such a good kid.”

“Thank you for saying that. Shinhae was a very cute and kind child too.”

“Ha ha ha! Thank you very much.”

They were both parents who dearly loved their kids, so they were on the same wavelength. The two of them spent a long time complementing each other’s kid. 

If Sungyoon's party members could see this scene, their mouths would have fallen to the floor. Sungyoon was being friendly to a beautiful woman.

“Plu-El.”

Aruwen, who stood behind Plu-El, tried to hurry up the conversation.

“Ah! Jeez! Where are my manners!”

Sungyoon and Plu-El had started exchanging childhood stories of their daughters. They even talked about the lessons they had learned about raising a child. But, Plu-El realized it and quickly tried to get the situation back on track.

Sungyoon turned his attention to Aruwen.

‘That person is….’

In an instant, Sungyoon’s expression worsened.

As a father to a daughter, he had a really bad opinion of this man, who had mistreated Soyoung. However, Sungyoon could tell something was different about him. It might just be a feeling, but a lot of the malice in his demeanor was gone.

“I would like to converse with you for a moment. Is that ok?”

Plu-El carefully asked the question.

Sungyoon looked at his watch. He wasn't on duty, and he still had some time. The only thing he needed to consider was returning on time to make dinner.

“It’s fine if it's brief.”

The two of them knew each other through their daughters. Sungyoon usually didn’t pay attention to strangers, but for this reason, he readily agreed to the request.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter