‘We should be arriving at our destination soon.’
In the dark cave they were in, a large and ominous door was making its presence known. However, Hyunwoo sat on top of a boulder with a bored expression.
Only his eyes revealed the deep curiosity that he felt.
“Did something good happen?”
When Jinsoo approached and asked him, Hyunwoo waved his hand in the negative.
“I’m just an old man sitting in a dark space. What's there to enjoy about this situation? ”
“Then you should've gone down to Earth. A lot of fun stuff is happening down there.”
They had become turncoats against Earth, so they sometimes accompanied the monsters down there to cause all kinds of mayhem.
“You're pretty amazing. You know they hate it when you accompany them.”
“Who cares what they think?”
“They gained so much because we cooperated with them. So them complaining about how hard it's to retrieve us from Earth is out of line. We did enough for them, and they should treat us better.”
The monsters were consumable commodities to Grenoid's officers. They didn't need to be retrieved, unlike the Connectors, for whom, Grenoid's officers had to open additional portals.
This was why Ursus, the leader of the monster army, had asked the Connectors to avoid going down to Earth. Most of them followed Ursus’s request, but some were like Jinsoo, and they ignored it.
“It really is great down there. I can do anything I want. I can kill and destroy everything to my heart’s content. I can carry out any criminal activity. It's heaven for me.”
The screams of the victims and their painful expressions fueled his desire for conquest and destruction.
Jinsoo was living in his golden age.
“I know for sure that what you want is something else. Am I right?”
Hyunwoo laughed as he spoke. His manner of talking suggested that he knew everything.
Hearing his words, Jinsoo came to a stop in an exaggerated manner. However, it lasted only for a moment, and a smile appeared on his lips, a cruel and frightening smile.
“Well, you're right.”
Jinsoo didn’t deny it.
“It's too funny. Those who put on airs as they yelled at me in the past ran away like dogs!”
Jinsoo looked at his hands. They had been dyed with blood not too long ago. Connectors were an amazing and confident group of people. He hadn’t been able to become one of them, but he made sure they died futilely against him.
“I don’t want to say this since it's your hobby. However, you shouldn’t overdo it. If you go out of line and turn into a detriment to the plan, you become nothing to them.”
Jinsoo raised his hands and replied in an insincere manner.
“Doesn’t that apply to you too, Mr. Hyunwoo?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You went on a ‘walk’ a couple of days ago. You were all alone on that walk.”
“Ah! You noticed that?”
Hyunwoo remained calm, and he spoke as if it were nothing.
“I felt that the act of betraying Korea and Earth had an effect on me, so I went out for a stroll to calm my heart. I went to a place that held sentimental value.”
“Wow. I thought you were incapable of bleeding or crying. I can’t believe you felt those emotions.”
“I also thought I was immune to those emotions, but as I get older, I grow sentimental. This is why one should die when one starts to get old.”
Hyunwoo and Jinsoo looked at each other. Both were smiling, but for some reason, it felt as if a murderous aura was flowing between them.
“Ha-haht! Since your age made you feel that way, I guess it can’t be helped. I'm getting older too, so I can relate.”
“Mmm! I love the respect you're showing toward an old man like me. Young kids these days are lacking in that department.”
“I’ll be heading out now.”
Jinsoo acted like a respectful young man; he left after bowing at a ninety-degree angle toward Hyunwoo. Hyunwoo waved his hand and laughed like a benevolent grandfather.
However, when Jinsoo disappeared, his benevolent laughter changed into a jeer.
‘He caught wind of it.’
It wasn’t surprising. Kim Jinsoo was a man who always observed Hyunwoo for an opening. In his eyes, every Connector, including Hyunwoo, was an enemy.
Yet, Hyunwoo didn’t care about that.
‘If Woo Sungyoon develops as planned...’
An existence like Kim Jinsoo wouldn’t even be worthy of entering Woo Sungyoon’s eyes at that point.
The tower's entrance did not have any doors. There was an arch-shaped opening at the bottom of the tower.
“Thankfully, there's no door.”
Bruce entered through the opening.
“He’s so shameless. He still can’t let go of the fact that he couldn’t open the door yesterday.”
Russell clicked his tongue as he followed Bruce into the tower.
Sungyoon’s party let out bitter laughs as they also entered the tower.
The center of the tower was open until the top, but one couldn’t see the ceiling. A helical staircase built against the walls led the way up, and the Connectors could see doors along the staircase.
“We have to climb it, right?”
Russell and Bruce bent their necks backward as they looked toward the ceiling. Bruce was the first one to step onto the staircase, and he lightly stomped his feet on the first step. Then, he put more strength into the stomp, but the staircase remained intact.
After that, he placed his other foot atop the staircase. With his full weight now on the staircase, he jumped a couple of times.
“I don’t think it’ll suddenly collapse on our way up.”
After the confirmation, the Connectors climbed up the staircase.
“This is quite dangerous without a railing.”
Emily stuck close to the wall.
Bruce, who was leading from the front, grabbed the handle to a door. It was the first room he had reached. The wooden door had somehow lasted the test of time, but it was obvious that it had rotten. It was barely hanging on.
“It's another door.”
Bruce glared at Russell, who teased him from his side. He then slowly opened the door.
“There’s nothing in here.”
“This place feels like a deserted house.”
Russell turned around to look at Sungyoon.
“Do you feel anything?”
“No. I don’t feel anything special within the room. How about you, Sir Russell? Do you feel anything out of the ordinary?”
“No. I equipped it, but I don’t think it will react to me.”
Russell raised his arm. His armor hid it, but he had a Device equipped on his arm, and that Device contained the Mage Gem.
“Let’s continue then.”
Bruce pointed toward the stairs.
Like that, the group continued to climb the staircase and check each room they arrived at. However, they didn’t see anything eye-catching within those rooms. The only thing they found was broken furniture.
Everyone wanted to just ignore the rooms to reach the top, but something out of the ordinary might exist within one of the rooms. That was why they had to open all of them.
“In the end, it was all for nothing.”
Russell stood on a platform at the very top. He let out a sigh as he looked at the last door.
In the end, their actions had been a massive waste of time. None of the rooms held anything interesting.
Russell slowly opened the last door. The helical staircase had come to an end in front of this door that existed at the top of the tower.
“We will find something in there, right?”
“Don’t jinx us!”
Russell kicked back toward Bruce, then fully opened the door.
A large space greeted him. Unlike the rooms present along the staircase, this place used the entire area up top. No inner walls segregating rooms existed here. It also didn’t possess outer walls, and one could look out into the city. The ceiling was held up by just a couple of pillars.
‘This place is more like a terrace than a room.’
It was a great place to have a great view. However, they couldn’t see much since the city was encased in sturdy walls.
Sungyoon looked up, and he recalled seeing the top of the tower embedded into the ceiling.
‘Does the top of the tower share the same ceiling as this space?’
“Mr. Sungyoon! Over there!”
Emily tapped at Sungyoon’s arm and pointed in a certain direction.
Sungyoon saw a familiar set of machines; they were similar to the machines that existed in Sungyoon’s capital city and Plu-El’s holy city. It was the device that projected the hologram.
Russell and Bruce also caught sight of the device, so they approached it.
“Hey. You should activate it. You have the Mage Gem, right?”
Russell was put in an awkward spot when Bruce spoke up.
“I still haven’t awakened it, so what can I do?”
Even as he said those words, Russell started touching the machine.
He tried pressing the Mage Gem against the device, and he also tried sending his magical energy through the Gem. However, the machine remained inactive.
“Mmm. Knight? Mr. Aruwen, Ms. Plu-El? Do you mind helping me out?”
Russell called out to the three who possessed the special Gems.
“We won’t be of any help. The machine will not activate without the Mage Gem.”
Plu-El crushed Russell’s hopeful thoughts.
“Can’t the Knight use the Royal Gem to activate it?”
“The Royal Gem isn’t a universal item.”
In the end, Russell backed away.
Once they realized they couldn’t activate it, the Connectors ignored the machine. They started observing their surroundings, but the only thing out of the ordinary was the machine.
“… There's nothing here.”
Bruce sounded annoyed.
He even checked the pillars and the outer walls of the tower to see if any symbols had been engraved into them, but it was a fruitless effort.
“Didn’t Sung Hyunwoo say there was something here that could stop Grenoid?”
“He said that this place holds a way to stop the monsters from invading Earth.”
“Shit! Does this mean he duped us?"
“There is no guarantee that he was referring to this place.”
Russell placated Bruce, but his voice was also devoid of energy.
“In the first place, he said that it exists with the ‘Great Labyrinth.’ He gave no other hints.”
Russell added at the end.
“However, there is no guarantee that he was telling the truth.”
Bruce stamped his foot.
The Connectors searched the tower one more time to make sure that they hadn’t missed anything.
The results of the search were the same, and the Mage Gem showed no signs of waking up.
In the end, the Connectors expanded their search radius to the entire city.
“Did you find anything?”
Sungyoon was looking at the wall surrounding the city when Emily walked up behind him and asked. In response, he shook his head from side to side.
“It's just a wall. Nothing extraordinary about it! Did you find something, Ms. Emily?”
Emily glanced at Sungyoon.
“Are you blaming yourself for this?”
“You look down.”
The Mayor had mobilized the Connectors to this place because he had heard Hyunwoo’s story through Sungyoon. Therefore, Emily was a bit worried about Sungyoon feeling some form of responsibility for this failure.
However, Sungyoon again shook his head from side to side.
“Not at all. At the end of the day, I only delivered the message. I’m not the one who decided to go ahead with this plan. It wasn’t my call to make this decision, so I don’t feel the need to be guilty about it. I’m not that kind of a person. I feel disappointed, but my disappointment has to do with the fact that Earth continues to suffer from monster attacks. I’m worried we won’t gain anything from this venture when we sacrificed so much.”
“Let’s head back to the tower once more.”
At Sungyoon’s insistence, the party returned to the tower.
The tower had been thoroughly investigated, and everyone else had left it.
His party members continued to climb the staircase as they checked the rooms once again.
However, Sungyoon didn’t follow them. He decided to focus on the first floor.
‘As expected, there's nothing here.’
Sungyoon felt despondent, but he didn’t give up. This time, he searched where the staircase started. He was checking the space between the first floor and the staircase when—
He felt the Royal Gem twitch.
As if a secret door was opening, a part of the floor sunk into the ground, revealing a staircase leading to the basement.Previous Chapter Next Chapter