Sungyoon silently looked at Woosang. He could feel his strong will, and it seemed Woosang wouldn't stand up until he said something.
“Woosang is right.”
Aiin, who had been monitoring the situation, spoke up.
“Mr. Sungyoon, you settled the most serious affair plaguing our family.”
“Son-in-law. You should call him son-in-law.”
“Ah! Yes! He’s our son-in-law.”
Aiin corrected herself when Hweeyoung scolded her.
“Now that I think about it, we didn’t thank you either.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
Sungyoon waved his hands to stop Hweeyoung. He wasn’t being humble. He really didn’t want them to bow toward him. What kind of a son-in-law wanted his mothers-in-law to lower their heads toward him? He felt uncomfortable just thinking about it.
Thankfully, the two of them didn’t bow like Woosang. Instead, they grabbed Sungyoon's hands as unshed tears appeared in their eyes. Even if they had been against Jimin's efforts in trying to find the traces of Jungbum, Jungbum was their husband.
Of course, they wanted to know how and why he had died.
However, they had always lived with the possibility of their husband dying the death of a Connector. They only went against Jimin because they didn’t want their child to unduly suffer.
The emotional baggage in their hearts had never left. It had been sitting in the corner of their hearts. When Sungyoon revealed the truth surrounding Jungbum’s death, the two women could finally let go of a large portion of that baggage.
Of course, anger took up the spot that became empty, but it didn't take over the gratefulness they felt toward Sungyoon.
After Hweeyoung, Aiin, and Woosang, Woosung hesitatingly approached Sungyoon. Unlike the others, he had been against Jimin’s marriage until the very end. Moreover, he had a poor opinion of Sungyoon.
However, such emotions no longer existed on his face.
“Thank you very much! Elder brother-in-law!”
Befitting his normal personality, he yelled as he bowed toward Sungyoon.
Sungyoon was unable to sleep. He cracked open the curtain to look out the window, but only the deserted streets illuminated by white street lights appeared in his vision. He raised the beer in his hand to his lips. The bitterness with an aftertaste of sweetness hit him as the carbonation of the beer entered his mouth.
“Are you having trouble sleeping?”
Jimin approached him. She was in her thin pajamas, and he could see the curves of her body as she stood next to him.
“A little bit.”
“Is it because of what happened earlier?”
Everyone had thanked Sungyoon because of his revelation about Jungbum's death.
“If I'm being honest, it is. I only tried to find traces of Father-in-law because I made a contract with you. I received compensation for doing that work. So, I don't believe I deserve their thanks.”
“You're being silly.”
Jimin modestly sat down next to Sungyoon.
“When I look back on it, I realize I was unreasonable in pushing my agenda on you. I knew I was living based on reality, but I felt the need to do something. If I didn’t do something, I thought I would've lost my mind. That's why I made that request to you, Mr. Sungyoon. However, I never expected you to succeed.”
She had made that request in a period in her life where her heart only contained sadness and longing for her father. Only a couple of years had passed since then, but that period felt like the distant past.
“I asked you to do this task, but I wasn’t holding my breath. You were an excuse I created to wrap up a useless task.”
“You helped me a lot.”
“As I said before, it was all an excuse. If I hadn’t done my best, I couldn't excuse myself. If I hadn’t done that, I would've cracked. I would've crumbled.”
This was the reason Jimin had done her best to support Sungyoon. She said this was her last opportunity, and it gave her the strength to push through.
“However, you were beyond my expectations. You easily pushed past the limitation of a 1st Gen. You experienced more danger than most Connectors, yet you continued to push forward.”
“It was in the contract.”
“A lot of humans treat a contract like a used pair of shoes. They throw it away as soon as a new pair comes along. This is especially true for successful Connectors who have the financial means to break the contract. Since their lives are on the line, I can't fault them.
"You know what kind of Connectors were contracted to my company in the past, right?”
Sungyoon thought about the first Connector Jimin had contracted—Kim Soobin. Kim Soobin was a delusional man who had attacked Sungyoon in the past.
“You were completely different from them. I still think the same way. I was very lucky.”
She had been losing hope, but Sungyoon charged forward no matter what. He was the reason the light of hope within her heart still kept glowing. In many ways, he was her prince on a white horse.
“In the end, you revealed the truth. You fulfilled your contract.”
Jimin grabbed Sungyoon’s hands.
His hands were large and rough. They were the hands of a man who had put his life on the line to protect his family. They were the hands of a Connector who had fought in the labyrinths. His hands were like her father’s hands, which she had grabbed when she was young.
“I should've said this way before my mothers, Woosang, and Woosung said it. It feels like I'm too late, but I really want to say this.”
She looked into Sungyoon's eyes.
“Thank you very much!”
Her clear voice rang in his ears.
“It was because of you that I could know the truth about my father’s underserved death. Thank you! Thank you very very much!”
Jimin buried her face in Sungyoon’s chest, and Sungyoon didn’t avoid her. As he sensed Jimin's shoulders shaking, Sungyoon felt dampness on his shirt.
What kind of tears were these?
Were they tears of happiness since she finally found out about the truth behind her father’s untimely death?
Or were they tears of sadness because of the tragic death of her father?
Only Jimin knew the truth.
Sungyoon quietly sipped his beer as Jimin continued to cry. After some time passed, Jimin stopped sniffling.
“I want you to promise me one more thing.”
Jimin took a firm handle of Sungyoon’s shirt.
“Is this another contract?”
“No, this is a promise.”
Although he had asked, Sungyoon didn’t care whether it was a contract or a promise; he would uphold it at all costs.
In the past, the two of them had signed a contract with no emotions involved. And the promise she was talking about now felt much heavier than that contract.
“What is it?”
“Am I right to guess that you will face fierce battles in the future?”
“It's almost a certainty.”
The scale of the fight would be unprecedented, something humanity had never experience before. He could guarantee it.
An unknown monster was uncurling within the Moon, and humanity would have to fight the monsters led by this creature, not to mention the traitors of humanity.
“Please live and return to me.”
It was a small cry from a person who had lost a family member in the labyrinths.
Her eyes looked toward Sungyoon as if they were asking him for an answer. However, the words that came out of Sungyoon’s mouth sidestepped her fervent wish.
“I’ll do my best.”
“You didn’t promise me.”
Jimin didn't look disappointed. She had already expected this answer.
“I’ll be satisfied with this. You promised me that you will do your best.”
She would have to be satisfied with that for now. Jimin moved her face away from his chest.
“Right now, I want you to comfort me.”
She then pushed her entire body toward Sungyoon, and her body emanated the dizzying scent of a woman. Of course, Sungyoon knew what her gesture meant.
“Others will hear us.”
After Hyunwoo’s ambush that wasn’t really an ambush, Sungyoon and Jimin had scrapped their plan to return to their home. It was more efficient to guard people in a single location, so they decided to continue residing in Hweeyoung and Aiin’s house. Moreover, Woosang and Woosung had returned to their respective rooms too.
Jimin let out a playful laugh.
“It’s fine. This house is well insulated. All Connectors with multiple wives have houses like this. Even if a Connector is married to multiple partners, no one likes hearing the others make love.”
Her slender arms encircled his neck.
“Don’t you think Shinhae needs a dongsaeng?”
Sungyoon picked Jimin up in his arms.
He kicked the rusty steel door. With his enhanced strength of a Connector, he sent the steel door flying to the ground.
A group of men entered through the front yard. At a glance, one could tell this place was a very old and damaged house. Its windows were broken, and the red tiles on the roof had lost their color from being overexposed to the sunlight. The roof had also collapsed in many places. The front yard hadn’t been maintained, so the grass was growing every which way.
With a tense expression, Sungyoon looked inside the house.
- No one is here. Shit! We were too late once again!
He relaxed when he heard the voice through the communication device. Sungyoon, who had been hiding behind a large bush, removed himself from the cover. The others who had been stationed outside as reinforcements also came out of their hiding places.
Sungyoon entered the house, where rotten floorboards acted like traps. He headed toward the location where everyone had gathered.
Sungyoon pinched his nose and made a face as his eyes took in the brutal scene of the crime.
Blood had been painted all over the walls. The blackened, dry blood told the group that some time had passed since this crime had happened. Despite that, the smell of the blood was strong in the air, proving that an enormous amount of blood had been spilled here.
Besides the walls, a weird looking magic circle had been drawn on the floor with blood. Undecipherable shapes and words had also been drawn on the ground. The sight evoked fear at a fundamental level.
However, the most horrifying part was the pile of corpses at the corner of the room. A mountain made out of corpses, only those words could describe it. All of these several hundred corpses had been slaughtered like pigs, and their bodies were strewn in every which way. The pile was much higher than the height of a normal person. It was a brutal sight, and the Connectors groaned as they involuntarily retreated.
“How is it?”
Sungyoon asked Bruce, who was ordering the other Connectors to collect the corpses.
“The same. One 1st Gen Connector and several hundred regular humans. I’m sure of it. Kevil and the other bastards were here.”
Bruce ground his teeth.
Kevil had been spotted not too long ago. Of course, the most elite team of Connectors had gone out to raid the location. However, they didn't find Kevil. They only found the location where Kevil had conducted a mass murder.
Afterward, they started finding several more locations like that. Of course, the Connectors who came upon these sites could only gnash their teeth.
“What the hell are those bastards trying to accomplish!”
Bruce stamped his foot. He wanted to smash the odd magic circle, but he refrained from doing so. It might be a clue to solving what was going on.
“A theory is going around that these magic circles are being made to somehow establish a resonance with the magical energy of the Moon.”
The source of this information was Plu-El.
“Shit! I’ll kill that bastard no matter what.”
Bruce spat on the ground. He fumed as he focused on clearing out this site. After the site was cleaned, the Connectors returned to the temporary base for this mission. Of course, they weren’t in a good mood after witnessing such a gruesome sight.
As the leader of the group, Bruce didn’t say anything. He just smoked cigarettes.
At that moment, the Mayor returned to the base, looking flustered. Plu-El walked behind him.
“We were too late once again.”
Bruce breathed out the white smoke as he spoke. He couldn’t hide the self-blame in his voice. Normally, the Mayor would try to console Bruce and say it couldn’t be helped, but he didn’t have the luxury to do that now.
“We found out the use of those magic circles.”
Everyone turned to look at the Mayor. Sungyoon straightened his body, while Bruce flicked the cigarette into the ashtray.
“What's it for? What are those damned magic circles used for?”
It seemed Sungyoon was also under a great deal of stress. He spoke in a coarse manner.
The Mayor looked at Plu-El, who stepped forward. Everyone shifted their attention to her.
“We used all the information our ancestors left to us and found out that the magic circles have been placed where the density of magical energy is high. They are used to resonate the magical energy of Earth with the magical energy of the Moon.”
“We already know that. We know the cause, but not the effect.”
“Grenoid only wants one thing right now: returning to Earth. We conducted our research with its goal in mind and came up with an answer.”
Plu-El shut her eyes as she continued.
“The resonance does one thing. It pulls the Moon toward the Earth.”
The cigarette inside a Connector’s mouth fell to the ground. No one could even react to her words.
“It really is happening….”
The Mayor wiped away the sweat from his forehead as he spoke.
“The trajectory of the Moon has changed. It's starting to move toward Earth.”
It was as if the enormous shock had hit the people upside the head.Previous Chapter Next Chapter