Chapter 285

They entered the room where Plu-El was imprisoned. She had been idly staring at the ceiling, and her eyes moved to the door to see the three men.

“You're back.”

Sungyoon, the Mayor, and the Deputy mayor had rushed out of the room some time ago as if they had found a solution to their problem, yet they had now returned with darkened expressions.

“I’m guessing it didn’t go well?”

“Unfortunately, it didn’t.”

Sungyoon answered Plu-El.

“When trying to create a perfect plan, small and large problems arise more often than not. What brings you back this time? Since you came to see me, you must want my help.”

Sungyoon looked toward the Mayor, and the Mayor took a couple of deep breaths.

‘It seems he's making a very important decision.’

Plu-El had also been in a leading position amongst the Moon people, so she could tell what the Mayor was thinking.

“Ms. Plu-El.”

“Yes.”

Plu-El replied in a serious manner.

“We've decided to fully trust you.”

Plu-El became surprised.

She was in a truce with these people, and the sentiment between both sides had significantly improved. However, there hadn't been enough information and time for the two sides to develop trust.

Moreover, Plu-El had determined that the Mayor was a conservative person. She could discern this even though she had limited conversation with him. Thus, there was only one reason the Mayor would make such a shocking decision.

‘Are they backed up against the wall?’

Plu-El's head spun. The Mayor's statement basically revealed his side's weakness, and Plu-El had to make a choice now. She could use this weakness to her advantage or keep her distance and monitor how the other side would react. 

If she chose neither...

‘Should I put all my trust in them?’

Plu-El exchanged gazes with the Mayor.

“First….”

Plu-El opened her mouth.

“Give me an update on the current situation.”

***

“I see.”

Plu-El brushed her hair to the side after she had heard a summary of the situation. The movement caused the steel chains to clank against each other.

“You're stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

“It's as you say.”

The Mayor agreed with her. The situation was so bad that he decided to trust her; he didn't have the luxury to lie to her right now.

“You only had to retrieve my Device and Gems, yet you failed, and monsters are guarding every building, including the one containing my Device and Gems.”

Plu-El tilted her head in puzzlement.

“However, I don’t think that it's enough to make you put all the cards on the table. It shouldn’t have made you seek my help. I’m sorry for saying this, but a degree of sacrifice would be enough to retrieve the Device and Gems.”

Monsters had been inside the city hall, and there was a chance that monsters were all over the city too. Nevertheless, it was less likely that all the monsters were concentrated near the city hall.

Basically, the Mayor could send in all the Connectors he could spare using the portal. While one group would've held off the monsters, another could've retrieved Plu-El’s Device and Gems. Then, they could all retreat through the portal.

There would be casualties. It might be more than expected. Still, it was an option, so there was no reason for the Mayor to act as if he was at the end of the road. 

Of course, the three men had also thought about executing such a plan.

“They plan on destroying whatever we are aiming for. Whenever we open a portal, monsters thoroughly destroy all the nearby buildings.”

One of the Connectors had been sent through a portal near the city hall. When he had looked out through the window, he had seen monsters thoroughly destroy the city hall. After the Connectors repeated this process, they became sure that monsters destroyed everything near a location where a portal was opened.

“… The safe is in the basement?”

“Correct.”

“If you want to access the basement, you have to clear the debris of the fallen building.”

“That’s right. Since all the debris from the nearby buildings is mixed together, it's hard for us to determine the exact location of the basement. Also, we're assuming monsters have only destroyed the buildings on the surface level. If so, our work will be easier. But if it isn't, it will be very tough for us. Basically, we’ll have to dig a hole.”

“You might not be able to do that with the number of troops you have.”

“Correct.”

They had no idea how long they would need to extract the safe. Only one thing was certain: it would be very hard to find it, and it might take a couple of dozen minutes.

“What will you do if I can’t give you a proper solution?”

“It can’t be helped.”

The Mayor shrugged.

“We’ll attempt to find the safe with the men we possess.”

He said this, but his face looked like it had aged several dozen years. It was clear that this plan didn’t have a high chance of success.

‘What should I do?’

If she were being honest, Plu-El couldn’t come up with a better plan. However, she had an idea about how to improve it.

‘The problem remains that they are completely undermanned. If they can increase their fighting power, it’ll immensely help their odds.’

Plu-El had a way of supplementing their fighting power. She just had to gather her comrades.

‘Should I let them participate in this plan?’

Plu-El had been separated from her people, but it wouldn’t be an obstacle. Her people had made contingency plans. If she were freed, it wouldn’t take her too long to locate her people.

However, there remained a problem.

‘There will be casualties if I let my comrades participate in this plan. Am I doing the right thing?’

The people currently stranded on the Moon belonged to Earth. They were completely unrelated to Planote's descendants. Plu-El was silent, but her eyes became focused.

‘Yes. In any case, we need their help.’

Planote's descendants lived on the Moon, but they yearned to return to Earth. Everything was lacking on the Moon, while everything was abundant on Earth. Earth was the place of their dreams.

Moreover, Plu-El had experienced living on Earth, albeit for a short period. Earth had been beyond her imagination. 

Above all else, the signs of Grenoid's reappearance had started to appear. She and her people had to gain the cooperation of the earthlings if they wanted a chance against Grenoid.

‘Even if I somehow dispel the misunderstanding, there is a high chance that there will be residual hostile feelings.’

This would be true for the descendants of Planote and the people of Earth. Both sides needed each other, but Fabion had played them against each other by acting as the middleman. This was why the two sides had fought each other and taken significant damage.

It was a thorny relationship, and healing this divide might not be a bad idea.

‘Moreover, this way, the earthlings would be in my debt.’

Even if earthlings and Planote's descendants could form an alliance, the chances were low that the Moon people would be on equal footing with the earthlings. The disparity in their numbers was too large.

The Moon people had lived in the Great Labyrinth with great difficulty, and they had a small population. Moreover, they had been ambushed by Fabion twice, so their numbers had shrunk even further.

On the other hand, the number of humans living on Earth had long surpassed seven billion. Moreover, these people possessed all the resources provided by Earth, which was the cradle of life.

‘Even if we could return to Earth, they won’t give us land to live.’

Her people would probably be absorbed into the societies of Earth.

Plu-El didn’t mind that option. Of course, some amongst her people considered themselves above the earthlings, but they would be going against a flood of humans. In the end, they would be swept away and buried by this flood.

‘That means we have to somehow increase our value.’

In order to do so, her people needed something to stand on.

The information that the Moon people possessed about the labyrinths and their enemies were attractive pieces that could be used in negotiations. However, their worth would increase even further if they fought for the earthlings who were in danger.

“Alright.”

After thinking things through, Plu-El opened her mouth.

“I’ve decided to completely trust you too. I’ll fully cooperate with you in this mission.”

Everyone’s face brightened.

“However, I can't be of much help to you. I don't have some revolutionary idea that would turn the situation in your favor. There is only one thing I can offer you.”

She met eyes with the three men in front of her.

“I can offer you the full might of our people.”

***

‘They let me go without making much of a fuss.’

Plu-El thought as she avoided a long piece of rock protruding from the wall.

The Mayor hadn’t put up much of a fight when she had suggested to form an alliance. Moreover, he had taken her words at face value and backed his words with action. He had released her from her bonds, then sent her off to find her comrades with several Connectors as escorts. They weren’t sent along to monitor her. They were guards. Plu-El needed protection since she had lost most of her fighting power without her Device and Gems. 

‘They even equipped me with spare Device and Gems.’

Since they were spares, this new equipment wasn’t that high in rank. However, the mere fact that the Mayor had given her new equipment was a shocking development.

‘That’s a lot on my shoulders.’

Since the other side had shown goodwill to her, she felt an obligation to convince her comrades to their side.

The Mayor was probably aiming for this, and it proved that he was a shrewd man.

“The ledge is high. Please be careful.”

The Connector in the front gave a warning. As expected of Connectors personally chosen by the Mayor, they silently did their work, regardless of their personal feelings.

‘These people aren’t bad, but I wanted to come here with Mr. Sungyoon.’

Sungyoon was Jungbum’s son-in-law. Plu-El wanted to converse with him about Jungbum’s other family on Earth.

‘I should've known it wasn’t possible.’

The portal was the only way in and out of the ancient city, and Sungyoon was the only one that possessed a key to the ancient city. The risk was too high to send Sungyoon out on a mission. If she were in the Mayor’s shoes, she would've also vehemently pushed back on the idea of Sungyoon being sent on a mission.

After walking for a while in the labyrinth, she saw her destination.

“It's here.”

Plu-El stopped near a large empty clearing, and then searched for something on the floor.

“That’s a relief. I found the right place.”

If she hadn't been paying close attention to it, she would have probably missed the faint mark on the floor. The sunken terrain made it harder to spot the sign.

“Please wait here for a bit.”

Plu-El sunk to the ground.

The Connectors set up a watch schedule. Some rested while others guarded the group. They weren't deep within the labyrinth, but this was the Great Labyrinth. If several monsters attacked the party all at once, the party could be wiped.

Time continued to pass.

Woo-oong!

A blue portal appeared in the middle of the clearing, and everyone stared at it.

Tuhk!

Someone exited the portal. The man looked at his surroundings with a cold expression, and he became surprised when he saw the other people nearby. He quickly raised his spear to attack the nearest Connector.

“Wait a moment!”

Plu-El yelled. The man who had exited the portal and assumed a fighting stance came to a stop when he heard the voice.

“… Plu-El?”

Disbelief was apparent in the voice.

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