Chapter 290

Sungyoon jumped out of the portal and stopped supplying his magical energy to the Royal Gem before his feet could hit the ground. Then, he bent forward to get as close to the ground as possible.

His posture looked awkward and funny. However, Sungyoon had done it in preparation for the possibility of an attack. Thankfully, no attacks passed through the portal before it closed.

“Hoo-ooh~!”

With that, Sungyoon took a deep breath. He welcomed the air that filled his lungs as he pushed off his legs to get up.

“Mr. Sungyoon!”

The Mayor greeted him, while Plu-El and Aruwen looked relieved to see him.

Sungyoon greeted them and his party members, who had been impatiently waiting for him.

“Are any of you hurt?”

“We are fine.”

As if to allay his worries, Grace raised her arms to show that she was fine. It didn’t seem she was exaggerating.

This time, Sungyoon posed a question to the Mayor.

“Where’s the safe?”

“Over there.”

The Mayor pointed to a corner in the room where several Connectors safeguarded the safe. The safe looked dirty, but it was intact even after going through all this mess.

‘It's quite sturdy.’

“Do we have the key?”

“No. We couldn't find the key within the debris, so we plan on breaking it open by force.”

“Let’s do it right now.”

Sungyoon took up his ax. The Mayor had no objection to his plan, and he retreated a step.

“What if the items aren’t in the safe?”

“Don’t put that evil on us!”

The Ross siblings whispered to each other. They were just voicing the worries that everyone in the room felt.

‘There’s no way that can happen.’

Sungyoon anxiously executed his actions. Since he didn’t want to break the safe in this room, he lifted and carried it outside. The others followed him out.

When they arrived outside, they saw all the Connectors who had participated in the plan. They were either resting or healing their wounds. 

Sungyoon tossed the safe away from the Connectors, then brought down his ax. He did his best to control his strength.

Puh-uhk!

A dull vibration passed through his hands. Sungyoon showed exquisite control over his strength. His strike crushed the hinge of the safe's door and flung the door far away. All kinds of Devices and Gems with tags attached to them fell from the safe.

“Which one is it?”

“I’ll look for it.”

Plu-El approached him. She squatted in front of the pile and sorted through the mess of Devices and Gems. Everyone else nervously watched her. Suddenly, she came to a stop and carefully picked up a particular Device.

“I found it.”

Cheers rang out all over the place.

***

They saw the city that was enclosed within a large space. It was an exotic city touched by the passage of time. The city's design looked similar to that of the cities Sungyoon and Aruwen could enter with their special Gems.

However, there were some differences too.

“This is the holy city?”

Even if someone was ignorant about their culture, that person could not miss the religious buildings inside the city.

“It's quite different from the cities that you're used to seeing, right?”

Plu-El spoke from behind Sungyoon.

“It seems each special Gem leads to a different city.”

“That’s right. As I’ve told you before, the special Gems were the treasures of our leaders. Each leader was in charge of a city. The warrior leader was in charge of Fortress city that had the strongest military might. The shaman leader was in charge of the holy city that was the center of our religion. The mage leader ruled the city of magic where anything related to magic was gathered.”

“What about the city connected to the Royal Gem? What kind of city was it?”

“At the time, the Royal Gem was pretty much the symbol of the king. Which city would a king rule from?”

“… The capital?”

“That’s right.”

‘This is a really important Gem.’

The Royal Gem basically signified the authority of a king. Even though the ancient civilization was no more, this Gem was a remnant of that time. Since it was a connection to their past glory, the Royal Gem meant a lot to the Moon people.

The people near them looked at Sungyoon’s Royal Gem with renewed respect in their eyes.

Plu-El walked forward without any hesitation.

The portal she had made led to a room within the holy city, and she guided the group to a different room.

“Isn’t this room similar to the one we saw in Mr. Sungyoon’s city?”

Emily asked in a curious voice. She could see unknown machines in the room and holographic screens floating in the air. 

There was only one difference between this room and the one in the capital city; the buildings displayed on the holographic screens were red in the capital city's room, while all of the buildings displayed on the holographic screens here were blue. 

Plu-El approached the holographic screens and performed some actions.

The images on the screens started to change. The buildings slowly faded away, and new images started to appear in their place. Two circular shapes appeared on the screen, one large and one small.

Everyone knew what they were.

“It's Earth and the Moon.”

Emily mumbled.

“Where should I send you all?”

Plu-El, who had her hands on the keyboard, turned her head to look back at the group.

***

Three weeks had passed since the extraordinary event had taken place in Armstrong city. However, the UN and all the countries in the world didn’t know what to do. They couldn’t come up with a clear plan. The incredible distance of 384 thousand kilometers was the problem. 

Even when a country wanted to send troops over the ocean, immense time, effort, and resources were required to pull it off. Moreover, there was no guarantee that the invasion would succeed. In fact, there was a higher probability of failure.

Now, space had to be inserted into that equation. It was a completely different proposition when it came to sending troops to fight on the Moon.

This was why the talks mainly centered around rescuing the survivors, but no one knew where the survivors were. Even if they traveled through space to reach the Moon, they couldn’t just randomly search for survivors since monsters were crawling all over Armstrong city.

In many ways, Earth was in a state of deep chaos.

Despite the political mess, time continued to flow and people had to get on with their lives.

“Mom! Hurry!”

Shinhae waved her hand toward Jimin, who laughed and walked toward the little girl. 

After Jimin had lost contact with Sungyoon, she had lived like a broken person for two weeks. However, she had realized that she couldn’t continue to live like that.

She was different from the girl who fell apart when her father had disappeared. She was no longer the naive girl who had entered headfirst into the intense business world with money, but no knowledge. 

She had to be different.

A major influence behind this change in her was the responsibility she felt toward her daughter. Shinhae had yet to know that her father was missing, and Jimin was doing her best to hide this information from her.

‘I can’t hide it forever.’

She didn't need to hide it forever. She just had to hide the information until Sungyoon returned. That way, Shinhae wouldn’t have to go through any unnecessary hardship from worrying about her dad. She would be able to live a happy life.

Therefore, Jimin had brought Shinhae to her favorite zoo. She was doing her best so that her daughter could continue to live a normal life.

The zoo was not busy today. It was to be expected considering the state of the world. All the adults who had come here had a shadow darkening their faces. The only ones acting normal were the innocent children having fun at the zoo.

Shinhae arrived near the cage containing lions, which were her favorite animal. Without a care in the world, she let out a large yawn. Then, she put on a bright smile as she looked at the lions once again.

After Shinhae had played for a long time, she and Jimin exited the zoo and entered the car. Shinhae was tired, and she fell asleep inside the car. 

On the way back, Jimin did her best to not wake up the child. She then carefully carried the child into the house, but this wasn’t the house owned by Sungyoon and Jimin.

“I’m here.”

“Welcome back!”

Aiin greeted Jimin.

“Oh my! Shinhae is asleep?”

“Yes.”

Aiin deftly took Shinhae in her arms. Shinhae tossed and turned for a brief moment, but it seemed Aiin’s arms were also comfortable. A happy expression appeared on the little girl's face, and she resumed her deep sleep.

“Hoo-hooht! She’s such a cute child.”

Not long after Sungyoon went missing, Jimin had taken Shinhae and gone to reside in her parents' home. Aiin and Hweeyoung had insisted on it. After all, they had experienced losing their husband within the labyrinth. Jimin knew they were worried for her, so she hadn’t put up much of a fight in accepting their offer.

After handing Shinhae to Aiin, Jimin went to the living room.

“You're here, Noona?”

Woosang and Woosung were also here.

They had been lucky as they had returned to Earth before the mess in Armstrong city broke out. Moreover, they were living at home right now. They had made various excuses for their presence here, but Jimin knew that her brothers were worried about her. 

However, they weren’t alone. Another person was sitting next to the two brothers.

“You're here, Hyunwoo ahjussi?”

“Yes!”

Hyunwoo, who had been conversing with Woosang and Woosung, turned to greet her. Since there was no flight to the Moon, Hyunwoo had nothing much to do. He frequently visited Hweeyoung and Aiin’s house with Woosang and Woosung in recent days.

Jimin sat down in the living room as she conversed with the three men. It didn’t take long for Hweeyoung and Aiin to join the conversation too. None of them brought up any news about Armstrong city, as everyone knew it was a sensitive topic. They knew that Jimin was pushing herself to act calm, but her nerves were as taut as the string on a bow. If that string snapped, they knew Jimin might collapse. That was why they brought up inane topics to be considerate of her feelings.

Some laughs occasionally broke out, but the conversation was brittle. There was no substance behind it, and it was dry like the rough sands of a desert.

“I... I need some air. I will be back.”

It seemed Jimin was having a hard time keeping up this farce. She carefully stood up.

No one stopped her. They just looked at her back with worried gazes.

“Hoo-ooh~!”

When she came out to the backyard, Jimin let out a sigh and raised her head.

The night sky was devoid of stars. There was only the full Moon, which was unusually bright tonight.

Jimin felt spiteful toward the Moon as if it had stolen away all the light from the surrounding stars.

In the past, it had felt like the Moon had taken her father from her. This time, it felt like the Moon had taken her husband.

‘No.’

Jimin forcefully shook her head from side to side, and her long hair flew through the air like tangled threads.

‘He's alive. I know it.’

She once again looked up at the sky. Even though she had hardened her heart, she felt her mental state slowly chipping away. The media was slowly starting to bring up the possibility of the survivors being dead on the Moon. They were talking about holding a joint funeral service for the fallen.

Jimin wholeheartedly disagreed with those opinions, but she had no proof to back up her feelings.

She could only wait.

‘Where are you right now?’

Wait for Sungyoon's return.

‘When will you be back?’

The dam that restrained her tears finally cracked, and a single tear fell down her pale cheek.

“Sungyoon.”

“What’s wrong?”

At first, she thought she was hallucinating. She missed him so much that her brain had deceived her into hearing Sungyoon’s voice. She was sure of it. Yet, she couldn’t stay still.

Jimin slowly turned her head.

Even if it was a delusion, she felt hope. She wanted to drag this out for as long as possible. She knew despair and a heavy sigh awaited her. However, her eyes caught sight of him. She rubbed them, but he didn’t disappear.

“Sungyoon?”

“Yes. Have you been waiting long?”

His smile and his voice matched everything she knew about him. This was real.

“S-sungyoon!”

It was as if the impudent full Moon had prepared a surprise for her. Under the Moon's gentle light, Jimin jumped into Sungyoon’s arms.

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