- We are fine.
The screen displayed Jimin’s face, and Sungyoon saw no strangeness in her complexion or demeanor. Suddenly, a small face popped up in front of Jimin.
- Fine! We are fine!
Sungyoon unconsciously relaxed his face. He didn’t even try to hide the smile that appeared on his face as he ran his hand across Shinhae's face on the screen.
“How’s our daughter doing? Are you doing ok?”
- Yes! I went to a bookstore yesterday with Mom! I bought a lot of books!
“Is that so?”
Shinhae had now become used to calling Jimin mom, and there was no awkwardness to it.
Sungyoon saw Shinhae raise a picture book with the name ‘The Little Mermaid'. Shinhae let out a trilling laugh as she showed her father the underwater kingdom drawn inside the book.
- I’m thinking about teaching Shinhae her letters soon.
“Aren’t you being too hasty?”
- I have no plan on rushing her.
Jimin had just wanted to lay down some seeds and let Shinhae become familiar with her letters. Had Shinhae disliked it, Jimin would have put it off to the future. Unexpectedly, Shinhae loved learning the letters.
Jimin looked at Shinhae as she laughed. It appeared as though she wanted to say ‘Right!’ to Shinhae. Shinhae nodded in response.
Sungyoon wanted to ask how they were doing in light of the terrorist attack, but somehow the topic of the conversation had turned into Shinhae’s education. He pressed down on the urge to keep talking about Shinhae.
“I’ll leave Shinhae in your care. You should listen to your mom, Shinhae.”
A smile appeared on his face at the sight of his energetic daughter, and Jimin held a similar expression as she watched Shinhae. Suddenly, their eyes met, and Sungyoon spoke.
“Take care of yourself, D-darling. It seems the world is becoming a dangerous place.”
- Yes. You should take care of yourself too.
In any topic regarding Shinhae, the two could converse without a problem. When it involved the two of them, however, the conversation would become awkward. Nonetheless, it was evident that they had gotten closer.
Shinhae waved her hand, and Sungyoon did the same before ending the call.
‘That takes one worry off my mind.’
Sungyoon brushed his hand over his chest, then returned to the living room. Grace, who had been drinking black tea, looked up at him with a smile on her lips.
“How’s your family?”
“They said they are doing fine. How did you know I was calling them?”
“It's natural to contact one’s family when hearing about a terrorist attack. I also contacted my parents and grandmother.”
Unlike Sungyoon and Grace, the Ross siblings looked disinterested because they didn’t have any close family to worry about.
The four of them once again paid attention to the TV.
‘Why would terrorist attacks simultaneously occur across the globe?’
Sungyoon wondered about the motive behind the terrorist attacks. Why were they causing so much chaos on Earth? There was already enough trouble on the Moon.
‘There is no way these are related to Fabion, right?’
Earth and the Moon.
An incredible distance separated the incidents in both places, and it was hard to make a connection between them. Yet, a feeling kept nagging Sungyoon.
‘So many things have happened to me that I’m suspicious of everything now.’
If he told about his thoughts to any other person, they would probably tell him that he was being paranoid. Sungyoon tamped down his suspicions, but he knew it was best to be on his guard.
No one could explain the goal behind the terrorist attacks. Unlike other terrorist organizations, the ones behind these attacks didn’t put out a manifesto. They just caused indiscriminate destruction.
As if Earth had attracted all the troubles on the Moon, Armstrong city enjoyed eventless days and its residents lived a peaceful life.
Sungyoon pulled back his blanket and jumped into his bed. As always, he took out a picture before he slept. Of course, it was a picture of a smiling Shinhae, but the picture was a bit different now. Jimin was standing next to Shinhae with a quiet smile on her face.
His wife was getting ever closer to his lovely daughter, and Sungyoon wanted to be with them as soon as possible.
‘Why do things have to get so complicated? Jeez!’
Sungyoon sighed when he saw the faces he missed. Two weeks had passed since he had started monitoring Soyoung’s mother. She hadn’t consumed much in this period, so she was becoming more and more emaciated.
To respond to the terrorist activities on Earth, a lot of Connectors had returned to their own countries. Armstrong city was running short-handed.
‘It might have been better if we had also returned.’
Each member of Sungyoon’s party had received a request to return to their country. However, Armstrong had pulled out all the stops to prevent that from happening. Thus, the four of them were stuck guarding the suspected ambusher.
‘The Mayor's trust in me is giving me trouble.’
Russell and Bruce had gone back to Earth. Armstrong city had worked harder to keep Sungyoon’s party in place rather than those two Connectors. Of course, the name value of the two men was too high for Armstrong to mess with them.
Sungyoon lay in his bed as he ran his hand through his hair.
‘It will soon end. Let’s not think about unnecessary things.’
Being a suspect, Plu-El would be transported to Earth under heavy security for a proper interrogation.
‘The mission will come to an end.’
Sungyoon didn’t feel so good about it.
‘… In the end, she didn’t open her mouth.’
He was worried. Of course, he wasn’t worried about Plu-El, but her daughter, Soyoung.
‘She was a cute child.’
This thought didn't come to his mind just because Soyoung had gotten along well with Shinhae. Sungyoon had entrusted Shinhae to an orphanage before, and he knew what happened to children without any parents.
‘She’ll be lonely because of her mother’s sins.’
As he thought about the girl, something happened.
His droopy eyes opened wide. He jumped out of the bed, ran to the window, and pulled aside the curtain.
‘What the hell happened!’
Smoke rose from various locations in the city, and a building engulfed in flames appeared in Sungyoon's vision. His ears picked up screams coming from the direction of the fire, and everyone on the streets was looking at the fire in surprise.
Streams of water fell from the ceiling of Armstrong city. The citywide sprinkler system had been activated, and it was a matter of time before the fire would be extinguished. Several bystanders became relieved.
However, Sungyoon still felt a chill run up his spine.
‘The fire isn’t the problem.’
He had heard an explosion first. If there had been a single explosion, Sungyoon would've returned to bed assuming someone had made a mistake. However, as his eyes took in at least six buildings on fire, his mind thought back to the event that had occurred on Earth not too long ago.
Kwahng! Kwahng! Kwahng!
More explosions erupted, and the people of the city finally realized what was going on. They started screaming. Everyone was focused on the burning buildings, but Sungyoon’s gaze headed past the buildings toward Armstrong's walls.
‘If my ears haven’t deceived me...’
Sungyoon had heard explosions in the distance. These explosions hadn't happened inside the city, but near the walls.
A siren rang out within Armstrong city, and the situation became hectic. Due to it being night, the city's lights had been dimmed. Thus, the appearance of a red light now was an ominous sign.
Tim, who was still in his pajamas, burst through the door of Sungyoon’s room. Soon, Grace and Emily also entered the room, clad in their sleepwear.
“What... what... what.... what’s going on!”
The last one to arrive was Chelsea. Unlike Sungyoon’s party, Chelsea hadn’t experienced pandemonium before, and her body shook in fear.
“I’m not too sure. It might be a terrorist attack or an attack from outside to take down Armstrong city. We have too little information right now.”
“Let’s go out to help!”
An ax appeared in Tim’s hand. A violent light shone in his eyes as if he wanted to decapitate the culprits behind the explosions. However, Sungyoon thought otherwise.
“No. We will continue to stay here.”
“Are you sure about that? Armstrong is short-handed right now. They’ll need all the helping hands they can get.”
“Please think about whom we are guarding.”
Emily looked toward the room where Plu-El was confined.
“We’ll only move if we get a direct order from Armstrong's higher-ups.”
Sungyoon faced the four of them as he spoke.
“Ms. Emily and Ms. Grace, you will guard her. She might try to escape using the confusion.”
Resolve filled their eyes.
“Mr. Tim and I will guard against any threat from outside.”
“Please don’t worry about it!”
Tim pounded his chest.
“I’m sorry, but I have a request for you too, Ms. Chelsea. Please stay near the phone. If a call comes, please relay the message to us.”
“I can do that!”
Her body still shook, but Chelsea clenched her fists.
“Then, let’s get moving.”
Everyone left the room in a flash. Sungyoon followed the others, but he glanced back once more. The fire was still dancing in the air.
“Wh-what the hell happened?”
One of his comrades spoke up in a flustered voice, but Aruwen kept silent. However, his trembling eyes proved that he was also shocked.
“Hey! Did we set up this many explosions?”
Aruwen's comrade asked the question to the whole group this time, but everyone just shook their head in surprise.
“What should we do, Aruwen?”
The person in the rear asked as he tapped the ground with his spear in an impatient manner.
“This wasn’t in the plan. Are we still going to push ahead?”
All of them had slowly infiltrated Armstrong city through the Great Labyrinth and the Beginner’s Labyrinth. They had gathered a good number of people despite the heightened surveillance all over Armstrong city.
They knew where Plu-El was imprisoned, but their fighting force was too small to confront the troops within Armstrong city. So they had come up with this plan. To distract Armstrong, they had scattered their men to various locations within the city and caused explosions. It wasn’t a bad plan.
Things had even gone their way. Armstrong city was thrown into confusion by the explosions. However, their plan had been too successful, and it had been spurred by some unknown factor.
“… We’ll carry it out.”
“Won’t it be too dangerous?”
“We’ll never get a better opportunity. A lot of their troops are on Earth because of the terrorist attacks. I have no idea why there were more explosions, but it puts us in a more advantageous situation.”
Aruwen’s words sounded reasonable, so everyone nodded. They searched for quiet streets as they moved toward Sungyoon’s house.
“What the hell is that?”
Aruwen's group and Sungyoon's party weren't the only groups shocked by the larger than expected explosions.Previous Chapter Next Chapter