Chapter 266

“Over there.”

Russell pressed his face against the window of the vehicle and pointed out. Instead of his party's Moon Surface vehicle, Russell was riding in the vehicle belonging to Sungyoon's party. On the other side of the window, the others in the vehicle saw the large maw of the Great Labyrinth.

“Is this the other Great Labyrinth?”

“Yes.”

Sungyoon stood next to Russell and also pressed his face against the window. He had only experienced one out of the four Great Labyrinths, the one inside Armstrong, so he was curious about this one.

As if a large meteor had hit the Great Labyrinth, its entrance opened its maw at the center of the enormous crater.

“I somewhat expected it, but still it's a lot.”

Several dozen Moon Surface vehicles belonging to Fabion were parked near the entrance, and it emphasized the number of Connectors mobilized to this location. It seemed Fabion had caught sight of Sungyoon’s party as several people exited their Moon Surface Vehicles.

Grace placed her hand on the window.

“Not all of them went into the Great Labyrinth.”

“They probably felt the need to defend the vehicles. It's now more imperative since monsters can roam outside the labyrinths.”

Sungyoon and all the Connectors traveling with him had to hunt down a good number of monsters to reach this place. Although the monsters weren’t difficult foes, they were strong enough to wreck unattended Moon Surface vehicles. 

“It also makes it more likely that they have something to hide.”

Russell sounded cynical.

“Let’s go there.”

Tim, who was in charge of driving, stepped on the gas pedal. He parked near the Great Labyrinth, and all of the Connectors in the vehicle stepped out. The other two vehicles and the Connectors in them followed suit.

“What brings you here?”

The man in charge of this group of Fabion Connectors stepped forward with his helmet on. 

“What brings us here? Do you own this place? Why are you talking as if this is your territory?”

The man’s face hardened at the sarcastic remarks. He turned to look at who had spoken, but he had to retreat a step when he realized the identity of the speaker. His face became pinched as if he had bit into a lemon.

“Mr. Bruce.”

Even though this Connector had the power of an enormous corporation named Fabion behind his back, he couldn't trifle with Bruce. The power backing Bruce was stronger than Fabion.

Moreover, Bruce was one of the strongest Connectors. 

‘This is going to get messy.’

The man inwardly spoke. The worst-case scenario had just arrived, but unfortunately for him, the worst-case scenario didn’t end with Bruce.

“You guys came out on such a large scale. Is this place that important?”

“We aren’t here to check up on that.”

The man’s face darkened when he saw two men speaking in such a friendly tone.

‘Sir Russell and the Knight.’

The man had been put a tough spot with only Bruce, yet Russell, who was just as strong, had added to his troubles. Then there was Sungyoon, who had no peers in terms of fame.

The man grumbled. Things had turned messy.

‘I can't kill them and shut them up.’

In the worst-case scenario, he had been given the order to kill. However, his opponents were too strong. Even if the ‘expeditionary force’ came back out of the labyrinth, victory wouldn’t be guaranteed. 

The man and his group were mere guards tasked to defend the entrance.

“I could've never expected to meet such famous people here.”

The man decided to act humbly.

“I’m sorry, but why did you come he—”

“Why are you here?”

Bruce cut off the man’s words, and flipped the question back on him.

“You guys scraped all your fighting force and brought them here. Did you guys discover something good here?”

“Discover? We're just working for humanity. We came to gather information about this Great Labyrinth.”

“I doubt it.”

Bruce snorted.

“It’s true. It can’t be helped if you don’t believe me.”

The man showed his guts as he calmly responded to Bruce’s sarcastic words.

“Shall we go see if you're telling the truth?”

Bruce smiled. His lips parted to reveal his sharp canines, and his fingers twitched as if he were about to attack the man. 

The man backed up in fear, and the Fabion Connectors standing in the rear quickly assumed a fighting stance and injected magical energy into their Gems. The tension was rapidly reaching its flashpoint.

“Bruce.”

Russell grabbed Bruce’s shoulder.

“Stop it. We're just here to see why Fabion mobilized so many people. We aren’t here to start a war.”

Russell’s words made the Fabion Connectors relax a little. However, when they heard his next words, a chill ran down their spines.

“At least, not yet.”

The man broke out in cold sweat when Russell looked at him with cold eyes. Sungyoon joined the conversation at that moment.

“You're here to gather information about this Great Labyrinth?”

“T-that's correct. Why else would we come to this place?”

In the man's eyes, Russell and Bruce were monstrous existences, and he found it easier to talk to Sungyoon. So he answered Sungyoon’s question with a glad expression.

“Do you mind if we lend a hand?”

“What?”

“We would like to go into the Great Labyrinth and help in gathering more information.”

The man rolled his eyes. He had no idea whether to say yes or no, but he knew he couldn't get away with rejecting the offer.

Tuhk!

Russell put his hand on the man’s shoulder.

“Why are you thinking so hard? The Great Labyrinth isn’t yours. According to the treaty, all labyrinths on the Moon are under Armstrong city's stewardship. Moreover, it's not like you guys received some special permission from Armstrong.”

Gagarin Yang city had openly rallied against the treaty to threaten Armstrong city’s authority on the Moon, but it had fallen to monsters. Armstrong city had once again become the sole authority on the Moon.

“Unlike you all, we did receive permission to come here.”

The man looked at the writ of Armstrong city and saw the Mayor’s signature.

“That's why we're asking for cooperation from you guys. Shouldn’t you show some effort to comply?”

“…”

The man had no response. In terms of power and authority, the other side was clearly superior.

‘They came well prepared.’

Fabion was always in the danger of Armstrong city finding out about their mobilization, and they had done it despite the risk. However, Armstrong city was being more cautious than ever before. 

“Understood.”

The man had no choice but to get out of the way.

***

The three parties entered the Great Labyrinth. All of them mainly raided the Great Labyrinth within Armstrong city, so the prospect of looking at the new one was novel to them. Unlike their expectations, the inside of this Great Labyrinth looked pretty much the same as the one in Armstrong city. 

“Are you sure we should leave those people in our rear?”

Grace glanced back at the entrance. Even though she was unable to see it, she could imagine the frustrated man's glare.

“It’s fine. They are all just so-so Connectors. They might cause us some trouble if they get in our way, but we could teach them a lesson when that time comes.”

Russell indifferently spoke. In front of Grace, he always acted like a playful grandfather, so she always had to remind herself that he was one of the strongest Connectors in the world. The idea of fighting the small group of Connectors outside wouldn't scare him.

Seeing the worry on Grace's face, Sungyoon pointed toward his Device.

“It's fine. You don't have to worry.”

“Ah! You're right.”

Grace finally relaxed when she realized they had the perfect exit route in the portal.

“What is that? Is that what you guys are hiding from us?”

Bruce picked up on the exchange and got close to Sungyoon. Sungyoon calmly answered him.

“I’ll tell you immediately once you get permission from the Mayor.”

“Tsk! You're so stingy.”

Bruce pouted as he walked away. He kept grumbling to himself as he complained about Sungyoon being a miser and a petty person. Since everyone knew that Bruce was just playing around, no one paid attention to his complaints.

“How are we supposed to track them down?”

Tim, who had been walking at the front, turned his head around.

This was the Great Labyrinth, and as the name implied, it had a lot of floors and divergent paths. If they weren’t careful, they would miss Fabion’s expeditionary force and might even get lost. 

“You don’t have to worry about that.”

Bruce quickened his steps as he walked past Tim. There was no hesitation in his steps, and the dumbfounded Tim followed him.

“Look here.”

When they arrived at the first divergent path, Bruce pointed at the wall of the tunnel. A large arrow entered the group's sight. Placing arrows was a method commonly used in clearing labyrinths to have an easier time finding the right paths.

“Since this is their first time raiding this Great Labyrinth, they won’t have much information to work with. They would have to mark their paths, and their markers will guide us.”

Bruce let out a confident smile.

“Well, let’s go.”

***

All the gimmicks of the Great Labyrinth in Armstrong were present here too: special monsters, common sense-defying physics, different terrains.

Moreover, the Great Labyrinth was a labyrinth that housed the strongest monsters. Regular Connectors would either run away or die here, and their corpses would forever decorate the Great Labyrinth.

However, the three parties were made up of anything but normal Connectors. They easily killed the monsters on the early floors and pushed past the Great Labyrinth. All the monsters died from a single blow from Bruce and Russell. Bruce grumbled that it was boring to kill these ‘weak’ monsters, and he didn’t even bother gathering the moonstones.

“How far did they go?”

A week had already passed since the three parties had entered the Great Labyrinth. They had reached the seventeenth floor. Fabion’s expeditionary force had moved through this place before, so the three parties didn't encounter many monsters. They were moving through the Great Labyrinth at an extremely fast speed.

Yet, they hadn’t caught sight of Fabion’s expeditionary force.

“Are you sure we came the right way?”

“The arrow pointed toward this direction.”

Russell recovered the moonstone and tossed it toward Bruce. Bruce looked annoyed by it as he put away the moonstone into his storage Gem. 

“Do you think they made those marks to deceive us?”

“That is a possibility. However, we can’t do much about it. We can't do a thorough search with the number of people we have. We can only move forward.”

“Shit!”

Bruce kicked the wall of the labyrinth and resumed walking. 

However, when the group descended another floor, they heard desperate footsteps.

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