“There was a basement here?”
Russell returned to the tower after being contacted by Sungyoon. He placed a hand on his forehead as he spoke.
“After building a massive tower, the builder kept everything important underground. Moreover, the entrance to the basement was well-hidden. The architect of this tower was a bit perverse in his thinking.”
“We don't know if anything important is down there, right?”
“Just be quiet for once! You're tempting fate!”
Russell berated Bruce.
“Something has to be here. Otherwise, we would've come here for nothing.”
“We found the Mage city. That’s something.”
“Since we have the Mage Gem, we would've eventually found this place. It's no significant achievement.”
Russell hadn’t shown it, but he had been very restless about their current situation. Therefore, his words were rougher than usual.
“Anyway, you're a big help to me through it all.”
Russell patted Sungyoon’s shoulder.
Plu-El stood off to the side, and she spoke up in a proud manner.
“He was chosen by the Royal Gem. Of course, an accomplishment of that magnitude is a given.”
“Mmm. That’s how it is supposed to be for the owner of the Royal Gem.”
Plu-El’s reaction was a given since Sungyoon was her son-in-law. However, surprisingly, Aruwen had also taken Sungyoon’s side.
Of course, he was praising the amazing ‘owner of the Royal Gem’ more than the Connector Sungyoon. Aruwen had completely given up on the Royal Gem, but his pride in the Gem manifested in odd ways.
Sungyoon felt embarrassed as he nodded at Russell.
“Still, I have to point out that there really might be nothing down there.”
Bruce gave a reasonable take, but Russell glared at him. His glare was so fierce that Bruce shut his mouth. Russell immediately stepped on the stairs leading to the basement, with the others following him.
“Were they in a hurry when making this place?”
Grace took careful steps. If she weren’t careful, she could roll down the staircase.
“I… Hnggh! I think so.”
Due to the large gap between the stairs, Tim had to jump down a fair distance. The staircase going to the top of the tower was neat and well-made, but the one heading underground was very rough.
The steps were uneven and improperly carved. Moreover, the distance between adjacent steps drastically differed.
“I’m not even sure if we can call these stairs.”
When they arrived at a step that had a one-meter drop, Bruce grumbled as he jumped down.
“Shit! This step has a one-meter fall, and the next steps are only fifteen centimeters wide!”
Bruce felt like he were walking on a ledge that was barely standing on a cliff, and he stuck close to the wall.
The stairs were a mess, and of course, the walls and ceiling weren't any different.
“Watch your head!”
Sungyoon warned them.
The ceiling was low, and a part of it was jutting out. Even a short person might bang their head on it.
The sound of steel hitting something rang out. A rock was sticking out of the wall, and one of the Connectors had bumped into it with his armor.
The Connector looked annoyed, so he struck the rock.
Like the tower, the staircase leading downward was also shaped like a helix. The only difference was an opening straight down the middle of the staircase.
“We are finally here!”
Bruce, who was in the front, yelled. He couldn't hide the happiness in his voice, but that happiness only lasted for a moment.
“… What the hell is this?”
Bruce’s voice lost strength when he saw the tunnels stretching out in all directions. When everyone else reached the bottom, they were also struck dumb by the sight of numerous tunnels.
“We reached this far, yet another labyrinth greets us.”
Russell let out a sigh.
At that moment, Sungyoon walked up next to Bruce.
“Hmm? What is it? Do you feel something?”
Bruce's eyes shone in anticipation.
“Something is over there.”
“Really? We should go that way?”
Of course, Bruce and the others looked toward the tunnel Sungyoon pointed at.
“What's there to hesitate? Let’s go.”
They didn't have to do that useless crap of searching everything, so Bruce felt joy at this fact. He quickly moved toward the tunnel Sungyoon pointed out.
After walking for a while, the group arrived at several forks in the tunnel, but Sungyoon always pointed out a direction.
His Royal Gem and his heart gave him clear signals on where to go.
Sungyoon once again chose a tunnel at a fork.
“What does it feel like? Is it a feeling of urgency or some weighty feeling?”
Bruce kept his guard up as he asked the question.
The others were also curious about this topic, so they were all ears.
“I’m not sure. It's hard to describe with words. All I can say is that… something is calling me?”
“Yes. It feels as if something is calling me to go in a certain direction.”
“We’ll answer that call. We’ll go wherever you point out if we can find something useful.”
All the Connectors had different thoughts and feelings about the subject as they walked through the tunnel. The only mutual feeling was that they wanted this to be the end of the Great Labyrinth mission.
After they walked for a while, the narrow tunnel widened once again.
“… We are here. This is out of the ordinary.”
Standing at the end of the tunnel, Bruce spoke.
The room ahead of him was shaped like a sphere, with the bottom and top being curved. Unlike the hasty work of the stairs and tunnels, the surface of the wall was smooth. If one took a wrong step, one would slip downward.
Fortunately, they didn’t need to slide down to the bottom as the curved walls had stairs on them. The group used the stairs to descend to the bottom.
The overall shape was a sphere, but the bottom part had a flat circular surface. When the group reached the bottom, everyone bent their heads back to look up.
“Was Sung Hyunwoo telling the truth? Is this what he was referring to?”
Bruce tapped at the large pillar in front of him. It was a large, thick pillar that extended all the way to the ceiling. Four people could join hands and could barely encircle it. Moreover, indecipherable symbols had been etched into the pillar.
The most eye-catching part about the pillar was the large crystal at its center. It looked as if the pillar existed to encircle this crystal.
“Can you read those words?”
Sungyoon asked Plu-El. The descendants of Planote had been staring at the letters engraved into the pillar as soon as they had arrived here.
“Yes. I can read it. These are the letters that we use even now.”
“What does it say?”
“It's the history of what happened here after our ancestors chased Grenoid to the Moon. The people of the Mage city wrote the reason they made this device and the instructions on how to activate it.”
“Does... does it spell out how we can defeat Grenoid?”
Russell’s voice contained both hope and uncertainty.
“I believe so.”
The Connectors in the group cheered. They had finally acquired what they had desired the most, and all the worries in their eyes melted away. Tim raised his hands as he cheered, while Grace and Emily hugged each other.
Sungyoon let out a sigh of relief. It was a sight that pushed out all the worries in his heart.
“Please give us an explanation.”
Russell urged Plu-El to speak.
“Wait a moment. The story and the explanation are all mixed up. It’ll take me some time to organize it. Can this be…”
Plu-El moved up so close that she was almost touching the pillar. She stared at the symbols.
“Look at this, Aruwen!”
“Yes. It's what you think it is.”
Unlike Plu-El, Aruwen retreated a couple of steps to see more letters.
“This is amazing.”
His voice was full of admiration.
It wasn’t just him and Plu-El, who had such expressions. All the descendants of Planote just stared at the pillar.
“Why are they acting that way?”
Bruce poked Sungyoon. After all, amongst the earthlings, Sungyoon was the closest to the descendants of Planote. However, even Sungyoon didn’t know everything about the descendants of Planote.
“I have no idea.”
“It seems they are concentrating on their task, so let’s leave them alone for now.”
Russell took preemptive action, so Bruce didn’t do anything unnecessary.
The descendants of Planote kept staring at the pillar for an hour. It appeared as though they were on a pilgrimage and trying to engrave each word into their minds. While they did this, the Connectors stood back to avoid getting in their way.
“I’m sorry. We were too preoccupied.”
Plu-El apologized in an embarrassed voice. Her red cheeks showed that she was still excited.
“May I ask why you are so surprised?”
When Russell asked the question, Plu-El immediately started her explanation.
“As I’ve told you before, the descendants of Planote lost all the skills from our past civilization. We lost the skill to make Devices and Gems. We also forgot how to make magic diagrams by utilizing magical energy. We can't make magic diagrams, but we can identify them.”
Plu-El once again looked at the pillar.
“These are the letters of our people. It explains why this place was made. However, that isn’t all. The words on the pillar also act as a magic diagram.”
Everyone turned to look at the letters engraved into the pillar.
“A magic diagram generally uses ambient magical energy to create a desired phenomenon. Therefore, they are limited in what they can do, depending on their shapes. However, the words themselves are expressing a magic diagram here. Normally, a magic diagram is complex and has a geometrical design, but the people of the Mage city expressed one through letters. Moreover, they wrote it in a way that the words also tell a long story. The magic diagram is stable despite it telling a story! The person who made that is a genius!”
Even Aruwen was very excited.
“According to the words written on the pillar, the Mage city had also separated from Earth when Grenoid was sealed. However, Grenoid was putting up a great fight, and the seal was having a very hard time staying in place. So the Mage city didn’t merge with the Moon, and it stayed buried in fragments that circled the Moon.”
“According to the story passed down through our people, there used to be a large mass of land that had remained neglected near the Moon.”
Aruwen added to Plu-El's explanation.
“In the past, some researchers on Earth put forth a theory that there were two Moons, one small and one large, and they merged when they collided with each other.”
Grace spoke in a quiet voice.
“That means this place isn’t the original Moon.”
Plu-El agreed with Russell’s words.
“Like the descendants of Planote, I believe the Mage city had survivors. I’m sure they were the ones who came up with the plan to seal Grenoid using all the magical energy on Earth. They were the magicians.”
They were the genius elites of the ancient civilization.
“They knew our ancestors were fighting to completely seal Grenoid, but they couldn’t give direct help. The physical distance was too large. Therefore, they started researching a method that would stop Grenoid's invasion. They researched to find a way to end it once and for all, and the result of that research is this pillar.”
A faraway look appeared in Plu-El’s eyes as she gazed at the pillar. Her eyes fell on the extra-large words written atop the large crystal.
“Pluka Owen Haimdeluite.”
“What does that mean?”
Plu-El laughed as she looked at Sungyoon, who had asked the question.
“In the language of earth, it translates to ‘seed of hope.’”Previous Chapter Next Chapter