Chapter 264

As the party headed to a small military base within Armstrong city, the Mayor's words kept floating around in Sungyoon's mind.

[Even a party of your caliber can't act freely with just the four of you. You need to be prepared for emergencies. According to the information I received, ‘Hyunwoo Sung’ is included in the group showing suspicious activities. So, we called in some reinforcement. Please join up with them before moving out. You don't have to worry! You know these people, and they are trustworthy.]

“Excuse me, Mr. Sungyoon.”

Emily pulled Sungyoon out of his thoughts.

“Do you really think Fabion is up to no good?”

“I’m not sure.”

Sungyoon couldn't her give a satisfactory answer. He knew a lot about Fabion compared to others, but that wasn't enough to make a statement.

‘At the very least, I have one more thing to hide from her.’

Sungyoon had faced an enemy having the same equipment as Jungbum. Jungbum had been a former employee of Dongin, and both men had been very close in the past. Now, Dongin's company was acting suspiciously. If Sungyoon told Jimin all this, her worries would be magnified by a high amount. Moreover, her husband, Sungyoon, was also involved in this matter.

“Why would the Mayor ask this of you, Mr. Sungyoon? You're close to several people within Fabion. Shouldn't you be the last person to carry out this mission?”

Tim asked. Some might take his question the wrong way, but it was the truth, and Sungyoon wasn’t offended by it.

“That only means the Mayor trusts Mr. Sungyoon that much. He kept repeating that while Mr. Sungyoon might not be the strongest Connector, he was the Connector the Mayor could trust the most.”

“Moreover, Mr. Sungyoon is probably the best at dealing with unexpected situations. He has experienced all kinds of difficulties over his career after all. Moreover, he also has a special advantage over Golems.”

Emily and Grace spoke one after the other. They tried to infer the Mayor’s intentions, and their words made sense.

“I didn’t plan on earning his trust.”

Sungyoon sighed, while his party members let out a chuckle.

“I wonder who's our reinforcement? With how confident the Mayor was, I think it must be someone strong.”

“I have no idea. However, one of our possible opponents is Mr. Hyunwoo, so I think it's someone of Mr. Russell's caliber.”

“If it is so, that’s a boon for us.”

When her country’s strongest Connector was referenced, Grace nodded with pride.

“If I may ask, did something happen between Mr. Hyunwoo and you?”

“… Why would you think that?”

Sungyoon got a handle on his surprise as he looked at Grace.

“When the Mayor said he was suspicious of Mr. Hyunwoo, you were surprised. However, that surprise soon changed into acceptance.”

“He did?”

Tim sounded baffled. Emily gave a small nod as she had seen it too.

Sungyoon touched his face.

“Am I that easy to read? Or are you both just quick on the uptake?”

“It wasn’t that noticeable. Though, I’m pretty astute at reading people. But, Ms. Emily and I didn’t pick up on it for that reason.”

Grace winked at Emily, and an odd smile appeared on Emily’s lips.

“Is that how it is? I thought I was the weird one for not picking up on it.”

“…”

Tim accepted the explanation, and Sungyoon fell silent.

“… We can get into it later. Honestly, I’ve started to have some suspicions about Mr. Hyunwoo. The reason being—”

“You're finally here!”

Sungyoon was about to explain himself when a familiar voice butted in.

“Sir Russell!”

Grace became overjoyed as Russell sauntered out of Armstrong city’s military base.

“Oh, My Princess! How have you been!”

“What the hell! You're embarrassing me!”

Russell and Grace greeted each other. Their interaction was a common one between a grandfather and his granddaughter.

“I had hoped it would be you, but I never expected it to be really you, Sir Russell.”

“Hmm? You wanted me? Jeez! My popularity never dies down!”

Russell cackled when he saw Sungyoon’s surprised face. It was always good to meet the hero of London and the child that was like a granddaughter to him.

“You're an inflexible bastard, but you act so tolerant in front of the kids.”

Russell's good mood crumpled when he heard the voice. The light in his eyes changed as he turned his head to glare.

“Can you just shut up for once? Hmm?”

Russell growled at the man who also came out of the military base.

“Mr. Bruce?”

“Hey, kid. It has been a while.”

This man was in the age group where he could call Sungyoon a kid even though Sungyoon was close to forty. Despite his age, Bruce looked like a man in his twenties.

“What the hell is up with your appearance! Is that the impression you want to make on your traveling companions?”

Unlike Russell’s clean outer appearance, Bruce had a disheveled appearance. His hair was unkempt, and with his current look, anyone could mistake him for a homeless man.

Russell's words made Bruce laugh out loud.

“We're going out to fight. Who cares what I look like? Will the monsters cower in fear if I’m dressed nice? If so, I should probably shave and wear a tuxedo.”

“Your mind has to be sharp when going out to battle, and your appearance influences how you behave!”

“I don’t want to fight beside anyone whose mindset will change based on how they dress!”

“In a battle with one’s life on the line, every small detail matters!”

Russell and Bruce raised their voices, and the veins on their necks bulged.

“They are at it again.”

Grace let out a bitter laugh as she watched the two of them. Russell and Bruce always fought like this because they disliked how each other conducted themselves. 

“We have to go out on the mission right now. Could you brief us on the relevant information?”

Sungyoon stepped forward. Normally, he would've let them fight it out until they got tired, but he had no other choice right now.

“Uh. That’s right. I acted in a disgraceful manner.”

“If you knew that, you should have acted right from the start.”

Russell glared at Bruce, but he said nothing further.

“Let’s head in.”

Russell led Sungyoon’s party into the base, and Bruce coasted along from the back. The group reached a room in the base, where they saw more Connectors seated inside.

‘They are the party members of Mr. Russell and Mr. Bruce.’

It seemed the Mayor had gone all out for this mission. The three parties greeted each other and sat around a round table.

“We have to brief Sungyoon and his party members, so I’ll give an overview first.”

Everyone nodded at Russell’s explanation.

“Fabion is headed toward the Great Labyrinth.”

“The Great Labyrinth?”

Emily asked.

“Didn’t they go out of Armstrong city?”

“That’s right. This Great Labyrinth isn't the one inside Armstrong.”

“Are you perhaps talking about the one near Gagarin Yang city?”

“No, not that one.”

Russell shot down Tim's guess.

“Their destination is the third Great Labyrinth.”

The unexpected words surprised Sungyoon's party.

“How many Great Labyrinths do you think exist on the moon?”

Russell posed the question to Sungyoon.

“As of now, I believe four have been found.”

“Yes. One of them is inside Armstrong city and one is near the fallen Gagarin Yang city. Fabion is going to one of the other two.”

“What do they plan on doing there?”

“That's what we have to find out.”

Russell crossed his arms and sighed.

“Trouble keeps happening on Earth and the Moon, yet one of the leading Connector companies mobilized en masse. It will cause great harm to people.”

“Are they trying to pioneer a new Great Labyrinth?”

“For what reason?”

Russell firmly denied Sungyoon’s assumption.

“I know you're close to Fabion, so you might not like hearing this. However, they are a large corporation that solely moves for the sake of profit. Many rumors about their dirty dealings have been proven true over the years. If I’m being honest, the Connectors affiliated with Fabion are known to be vicious. Now, such a company is moving to do something unprofitable? Unless a gun was pressed against their president Dongin’s head, he would never do that.”

“What are the chances that pioneering a new Great Labyrinth is profitable?”

“None. It only makes sense to do that if Armstrong's Great Labyrinth has been fully explored and the competition has become too fierce. We still don’t know how many floors Armstrong city’s Great Labyrinth has, yet Fabion wants to pioneer a new one? There's no critical infrastructure around it, and monsters are roaming on the Moon's surface. It's the worst possible time to do this, and their move makes no sense at all.”

“Moreover, Fabion mobilized most of their main force. The number of their Connectors moving in this plan significantly impairs their ability to acquire moonstones. And with the speed they moved, it seems like they were on a deadline.”

“It's one of two things. They need to hide something or they need to resolve something. If it were anything other than hiding, they wouldn’t be sneaking out of the city like thieves in the night. They would've asked Armstrong city for help. They didn't do that, and it means they have to resolve that problem as fast as they can. They have to do it even if Armstrong discovers their actions.”

Russell and Bruce took turns in explaining, and the mood inside the room sank further and further with every word. As if to break out of this funk, Bruce shrugged and spoke.

“They might've found something amazing and could be trying to monopolize the discovery. Of course, it's our job to interfere with that possibility too.”

Bruce had to stop such actions so that the US and his company could profit too.

“If we follow them, we’ll find the problem. That's why we brought together this small elite force.”

Bruce spoke in a light tone. Russell glared at him a little bit, but since Bruce had a point, Russell didn’t berate him.

“Sungyoon, I would like to ask you something. Have you seen any suspicious movements from Fabion or Hyunwoo Sung recently?”

Sungyoon thought for a moment, but he soon came to a decision and nodded.

“Yes, I did.”

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