Sungyoon explained to them what he had seen. His party members stood beside him, and they supplemented his story whenever required. Everyone listened to the words in a serious manner.
“Did anyone travel through a location similar to what the Knight just described? Have you seen any other unusual places like this in other labyrinths?”
When the Mayor asked the question, the Connectors talked amongst themselves. However, none of them stepped forward; they all shook their heads from side to side.
“It seems Mr. Sungyoon did enter somewhere special.”
“You distinguished yourself once again.”
Russell laughed out loud as he pounded Sungyoon’s back. The blow was so strong that Sungyoon felt like coughing.
The Mayor also became very happy.
“Things aren’t going well on Earth, so I’ve been very worried. Now, I can freely breathe again.”
“We still don't know if this place is what Sung Hyunwoo was referring to. We don’t know for sure.”
Everyone was counting their chickens before they had hatched. Therefore, Sungyoon put a break to their exuberance. However, he should have known that these people weren’t idiots.
“We have our feet against the fire right now. The fact that we found a likely location is a big deal.”
At that moment, the Mayor looked like a middle-aged man so tired that he might voluntarily retire.
“Is Earth doing that badly?”
“I periodically travel to the Moon's surface to contact Earth. They are pressuring me to return the Connectors.”
The Mayor let out a sigh and continued.
“Of course, I can understand why. Earth is in a bad spot right now. After all of you went into the labyrinth, around two hundred thousand people have died around the world.”
Two hundred thousand.
It wasn’t a number that could be swept under the rug.
“That’s only the official number. Many victims have yet to be counted. It's estimated that the actual number is two hundred and fifty thousand.”
“How could so many...”
Grace mumbled in a trembling voice.
“Numerous cities and towns were burned to the ground. The wave of monsters coming to Earth is never-ending. A lot of the Connectors who would have slaughtered these monsters are up here for this mission. The defensive capability of Earth has plummeted, so this result was inevitable. Moreover, the small number of Connectors left behind on Earth pushed themselves too far in trying to push back the monsters. A lot of them died. The supply of Mana Knight has also depleted earlier than expected. So they have to lure the monsters toward a location with no magical energy. Monsters weaken if they rampage too long in those locations, and at that point, modern weapons work against them. However, this method incurs a lot of collateral damage including casualties.”
The Mayor wasn’t done talking.
“Moreover, the Moon is accelerating toward Earth. Since most of our strongest Connectors are up here, Kevil is growing more brazen in his kidnappings. Kevil is conducting its ritual out in the open. At this rate, it's a distinct possibility that the Moon will collide with Earth in a couple of years.”
Everyone went silent. While they were trying to find clues in the Great Labyrinth to save Earth from danger, the number of casualties on Earth was exponentially increasing.
“Do you understand now, Mr. Woo Sungyoon? We are praising you not because we favor or treasure you. You basically brought us a ray of light in the darkness that we face.”
“Then we shouldn’t be standing around here like this. We have to go check up on that place.”
Bruce was impatient, so he got up to his feet. However, Plu-El stopped him.
“Wait a moment. Mr. Sungyoon just returned. Moreover, he fought an extremely powerful monster. At the very least, he needs a day's rest.”
“She's right, Bruce. The Knight and his party have to rest a little.”
When Russell sided with Plu-El, Bruce couldn’t push strongly for his plan. Moreover, Plu-El had a point.
“Alright. You guys are right. We’ll go tomorrow! Is that ok with you, Russell?”
“Then I’ll go and finish the preparations.”
Bruce clapped his hands and yelled at the Connectors gathered around them.
“You heard him. Let’s go and prepare for tomorrow! We have no idea what’s down there, so you should harden your hearts! The Knight and his party members have to rest now. Hurry up and scram!”
“Wouldn’t it be better if we returned to Earth to rest?”
Someone spoke up. The Connectors started to agree with that sentiment in ones and twos.
“I guess it's better than this city, which has nothing.”
“We are worried about our families.”
Since only Plu-El had the means to return them to Earth, the Connectors started to eye her.
However, the one to break up their hopes wasn’t Russell, but Bruce.
“You idiots! If you go back to Earth, your country will try to keep you there! They’ll use the invasion of monsters as an excuse! You won’t be able to get a good rest! You won’t even be able to return here for the mission! I know you're all worried about Earth and your families! However, we need your strength tomorrow!”
Bruce’s loud voice rang out.
The Connectors let out a sigh, and some lowered their heads. No one disagreed with Bruce as they all dispersed to their lodgings. In a flash, the area around Sungyoon became empty.
“At least, he’s good at doing that.”
Russell had an impressed expression on his face as he watched Bruce walk away.
“He's normally impatient, and he looks simple on the surface. However, he has overcome all kinds of adversities over the years. Of course, he knows basic battle tactics and how to lead men.”
“If he didn’t have those qualities, I would've blown a gasket a long time ago. We should go rest too, Mayor.”
“Let’s do that.”
The Mayor and Russell also left.
“Please take care of yourself.”
Plu-El was last to depart, leaving only Sungyoon and his party members in the area.
“Alright. Let’s rest to our hearts' content. It has been a while.”
Tim stretched his arms into the air. His voice sounded pretty upbeat. However, the rest of them knew that he was forcing himself to act that way. The situation on Earth also bothered him.
“Yes. We can’t shower, but we can clean ourselves off. I feel so sticky.”
“I want to wash my clothes, but I don’t know if we have enough time.”
Emily and Grace went along with Tim.
“The three of you should rest.”
Sungyoon spoke. He didn’t join them in resting.
“What about you, Mr. Sungyoon?”
“I have something to confirm.”
Sungyoon showed his Royal Gem to Emily, who had approached him.
“I could feel where to go in the labyrinth thanks to this Gem, so I want to check if any changes have occurred to the capital city.”
“I’ll go with you.”
“No. You should rest with the others, Ms. Emily. I won’t be gone for long.”
Sungyoon stopped Emily from following him. After he explained his situation to his other party members, he created a portal and passed through it.
‘I don’t see any changes.’
The capital city was quiet. Sungyoon had come here instead of enjoying his well-deserved rest, but unlike his expectations, there were no changes. The capital city was the same as always.
However, his visit wasn't for naught.
‘It's as I suspected.’
Sungyoon closed his eyes.
‘This new sense is the sense of the city.’
When he returned to the holy city, Sungyoon had felt a powerful sensation. It felt as if he had entered a place he ruled, and a powerful sense of control and safety had entered his heart. And here in the capital city, he felt the same.
It was also similar to the sensation that he had felt in the tunnel he found within the Great Labyrinth today.
‘That means a city like this exists over there.’
According to the information he possessed, the holy city, the fortress city, and the capital city weren’t connected to the outside. If that tunnel was connected to a city, the identity of the city became clear.
Hyunwoo had given him the Mage Gem, so if Hyunwoo directed him to the Mage city, everything fit.
‘The problem remains that we couldn’t awaken the Mage Gem at all.’
The Mage Gem was supposed to be a very important part of their fighting power, yet they were unable to use it. They needed to find a Connector capable of awakening the Mage Gem. However, they couldn't find anyone like that.
There was a chance that it might awaken in due time, so Russell was carrying it around for now.
‘Anyway, I have to relay this information.’
He had one more thing to check before leaving.
Sungyoon entered the room with the holographic screen.
‘Things have indeed changed here.’
More parts of the cross-sectional diagram of the building were colored in blue now.
‘I felt it for certain when I stepped into this room.’
Sungyoon looked at the Royal Gem once again. It was as if it had a will of its own. It had started transmitting information to Sungyoon, and he pushed his magical energy into the Gem.
The portal opened.
He didn’t hesitate as he passed through it. The bright blue light blinded him for a brief moment, but he regained his eyesight when he exited the blue light.
Shinhae, who was drawing in her sketchbook with a crayon, looked at Sungyoon with a shocked expression.
Sungyoon let out a bright smile.
Sungyoon relayed the information about the possibility of the Mage city being in the Great Labyrinth they were raiding. Moreover, he told the Mayor and his party members about his success in opening a portal to Earth.
When he explained to them about the Mage city, they just nodded. They just wanted a way to avert the calamity coming toward Earth. They didn’t care if that solution was the Mage city or something else.
However, when they heard that he had opened a portal to Earth, they became overjoyed, especially the Mayor. His expression was akin to ecstasy.
They had acquired another direct passage between Earth and the Moon.
After Armstrong city had fallen, humanity had lost its foothold on the Moon, and the portals became a weapon that they could use to take back control of the Moon.
Plu-El and Aruwen congratulated Sungyoon for his steadfast progress in awakening the Royal Gem.
Moreover, Aruwen said something very odd to him.
“I’ll have to give it to you after we finish this battle.”
Sungyoon wanted to ask what Aruwen meant, but Aruwen had already returned to his comrades.
Then, the next day arrived.
All the Connectors passed through Sungyoon’s portal to arrive at the place where his party had reached the last time.
“It really is different from the Great Labyrinth and the normal labyrinth.”
Bruce, who stood in front of the group, knocked on the wall with his gauntlet.
“Damn! I really hate cramped spaces.”
Russell complained because he would have a hard time swinging his sword here.
“Don't complain. Let’s go.”
Bruce looked very easy going compared to Russell, and it seemed he was teasing Russell. He even clashed his gauntlets against each other.
“Oh! I can already see one.”
The faces of Sungyoon’s party hardened when they saw the monster walking toward them through the tunnel.
It was the Living Armor, the monster that had caused them a lot of trouble the day before.
Sungyoon was about to give a warning and explain the Living Armor’s incredibly high defense. He was about to tell everyone about how powerful the monsters were in this particular environment.
However, Bruce moved before he could open his mouth.
Sungyoon rubbed at his eyes, Tim’s mouth fell open, Emily’s eyes became wide, and Grace let out a forced laugh.
“Hurry, hurry! Let’s move!”
The Living Armor that had troubled them so much shattered into pieces due to a single punch from Bruce, and Bruce cheerfully asked them to move forward.Previous Chapter Next Chapter