The fight to recapture Armstrong city could be the pivotal point in defying the fate of Earth.
Some people wanted to give up on the city, hole up on Earth, and fight a defensive battle. However, the majority dismissed such opinions. Without a presence on the Moon, humanity could not know what Grenoid was up to. Moreover, they needed the supply of moonstones and Mana Knight. It was also brought up that the Mage city had to be protected even after erecting the force field.
Since everyone had agreed to reclaim Armstrong city, they could now discuss how to do that.
“We won’t be recapturing Armstrong city first.”
The Mayor sounded a bit depressed.
“First, we have to recapture the sites containing Mana Knight. The people above me all think that this is the time to bolster our fighting power. Once we start manufacturing Mana Knight ammo, our fighting power will go up for sure.”
“This plan was suggested before, but we determined that it was an inefficient use of resources. What has changed now?”
The only ones who could open a portal between Earth and the Moon were Sungyoon and Plu-El. Even if they focused on only maintaining the portal, they could only open portals to two mines.
However, the Mayor proudly pointed at Sungyoon as if he had a plan.
“Mr. Sungyoon will solve that problem.”
Everyone turned their gaze toward Sungyoon.
“The Royal Gem has awakened further, and he can now use a new ability.”
“What's the new ability?”
“He can maintain a portal.”
A buzz of excitement appeared in the place. The man who had asked the question continued to ask more questions.
“Currently, the portal closes once the Knight moves away from it. If it's as you said, the portal can be kept open, regardless of his proximity to it. Do I have it right?”
“That changes everything.”
Everyone’s eyes twinkled.
“How many portals can he maintain and for how long?”
Someone else asked the question.
“He can maintain two or three portals between Earth and the Moon.”
The answer disappointed everyone.
“Doesn’t that mean we are in the same situation? I don’t think that's enough to increase our efficiency.”
“No. It's more than enough.”
The Mayor was resolute.
“We’ll connect the portal from Earth to the Moon through the capital city.”
“Yes. The capital city is one of the four special cities on the Moon. We’ll open a portal connecting the Moon and Earth in the capital city. From there, we can connect the portals to the labyrinths that we desire.”
Basically, the capital city would be used as a command center.
“Does that mean he can open and maintain numerous portals around the Moon? Am I correct in making that assumption?”
Sungyoon answered the man. The man nodded and gestured at the Mayor to continue.
“The excavation of Mana Knight won’t be limited to the previous mining sites. In the past, we had discovered a lot of labyrinths with Mana Knight, but we hadn’t excavated there for many reasons; the main reason being we didn’t want to destroy the Golems. This time, we’ll get rid of all the Golems and attempt to gather as much Mana Knight as we can.”
“Wouldn’t that adversely affect Grenoid’s seal? Are you sure that's wise?”
“According to Ms. Plu-El, the seal is already unraveling. It's inevitable. Therefore, we decided it would be best to gather whatever amount of Mana Knight we can excavate and bolster our strength.”
The Mayor looked at all the Connectors gathered in the room.
“Well, let’s do this! Let’s carry out the first stage of our plan!”
The Golems guarding the labyrinth started to attack. They were extremely powerful beings that only the highest ranked Connectors could defeat. However, Sungyoon cut them down too easily.
“That’s the last one.”
Sungyoon unsummoned his sword.
His party members had been on standby behind him in case things went sideways. They approached him as he nudged the broken pieces of the Golems with his foot.
“What's this power of yours, Mr. Sungyoon? Do Ms. Plu-El and the descendants of Planote know the reason you can do this?”
“They have a theory.”
Sungyoon recalled the explanation given to him before.
“It isn’t an exaggeration to say Grenoid and the source of magical energy are one and the same. First Gen Connectors are beings closely connected to the source of magical energy. That was why when I came into contact with Kevil, who overflows with Grenoid's power, I could use the source of magical energy as my own. This is also true for the Golems, who are connected to the source of magical energy. The stench of Grenoid is also stronger on the monsters of the Great Labyrinths, so I can perform similar feats against them too.”
“Wouldn't our fights get much easier if we mobilized the 1st Gen Connectors?”
Tim excitedly yelled. It sounded like a pretty good idea. However, Sungyoon shook his head from side to side.
“Did you forget why 1st Gen Connectors can't enter the Great Labyrinth?”
“... The fear?”
“Yes. As someone who had experienced it before, that fear isn't something that could be overcome with the mind.”
Sungyoon's body shook a little bit. Just the thought of it made him shiver. Ever since he had become an adult, he had never wanted to go crying into his mother’s arms until he faced the fear.
“First Gens being closely connected to the source of magical energy also means that we feel the presence of Grenoid more strongly.”
The beating heart and the overwhelming presence were all from Grenoid.
“The 1st Gens are exposed to it unfiltered. Of course, they can’t fight back.”
They were like a frozen mouse standing in front of a cat.
The fear experienced by 1st Gen Connectors felt as if someone had been exposed to the sun instead of a fire.
“According to my mother-in-law, only the most talented 1st Gens can somewhat overcome the stench of Grenoid that emanates from the monsters of the Great Labyrinth and the Golems who guard the labyrinths. It was a problem for me too when I fought monsters like Kevil, but this shields me from the presence of Grenoid.”
Sungyoon pointed at his Royal Gem.
“In the end, Mr. Sungyoon, you're the only one capable of easily defeating the Golems.”
At that moment, someone exited the portal.
It was a Connector who had been on standby on the other side of the portal.
“Are you done?”
“Yes. I destroyed all the Golems in this labyrinth. We also cleared all the nearby monsters.”
The Connector re-entered the portal and came back with an object. The object was rather large. It had a long barrel, and it shone with a black light that contained subdued killing intent as if it were waiting to shed the blood of its enemies.
It was a large cannon.
The cannon wasn’t the end of the procession. Following it, a considerable number of people poured out of the portal. They were all dressed in the same uniform, and their movements were crisp and in perfect order.
One could tell that they weren’t Connectors with just a glance. If Connectors were wild beasts, these men were well-oiled machines.
They were soldiers.
In a flash, the soldiers made an encampment. They created barriers in the tunnel and set up machine guns in either direction.
“Thank you for your effort.”
The commander saluted Sungyoon. In the past, Sungyoon had been enlisted in the army too, so he knew to respond with a salute.
“Thankfully, the suppressor is holding up pretty well.”
Sungyoon looked at the magical energy suppressor the commander had worn. The magical energy suppressors were crucial if regular soldiers were to work in the labyrinth.
“Yes! It's an improved model, so it’ll work even if a Mana Stream occurs within a normal labyrinth. We’ll have no problem killing these monsters!”
The commander's voice was full of the desire to fight.
It was the duty of soldiers to protect their country and its citizens, but they had been powerless against monsters. However, it was different now. The effectiveness of the weapons was limited, but the soldiers could contend with monsters with these weapons.
“Once we start to excavate Mana Knight, it's predicted that it’ll give us a lot of breathing room in terms of supply. I’ll leave it to you.”
“We won’t disappoint you!”
Sungyoon returned through the portal. A small number of Connectors were left behind with the soldiers who used Mana Knight bullets.
The large cannon belched out flames.
The cannon was specially designed for the enclosed environment of the cave they were in, but the distinct sound of a cannon couldn’t be changed. However, the cannon was so effective that no one minded the deafening noise.
The attack blew off the head of the monster charging forward, obliterated the shoulder of the one behind it, and left a hole in the stomach of the monster third in the line.
The machine guns followed up after the cannon. A wave of black bullets flew toward the monsters and honeycombed them.
When the order came down, the loud noises from the guns suddenly stopped.
“What do you think?”
The commander's voice contained pride, and his eyes shone as if he were a dog begging for a compliment.
Sungyoon wasn't exaggerating. This sight had surprised him quite a bit. He had somewhat expected it, but the effectiveness of the weapons using Mana Knight went beyond those expectations.
After receiving information that monsters had appeared at one of the mining sites, Sungyoon had come as backup just in case. However, it seemed his presence was unnecessary.
‘Of course, it’ll be ineffective against the officers of Grenoid or other powerful monsters.’
The soldiers also knew this, but they had taken up this mission despite the risks. They wanted to bolster their fighting power.
It was the word that best described the current situation.
The Mayor had set up encampments in all the labyrinths known to have Mana Knight. On top of that, new labyrinths were explored in order to find more Mana Knight. Then, the excavated Mana Knight was processed and made into ammo and magical energy suppressors. This helped the group set up more Mana Knight mining operations in turn.
“A couple of mining sites were destroyed.”
The Mayor sounded depressed.
“Of course, a lot of people died.”
Even though they had made preparations, there was a limit on what they could defend against.
“Thankfully, I believe our enemies are still unaware of our plan. We saw no signs of them intending to attack our mining operations en masse.”
“We are barely using any Mana Knight in defending Earth for this very reason.”
Grace spoke in a subdued voice.
After the mission to find the Mage city came to an end, most of the Connectors had returned to Earth. The massive civilian casualties had reduced. Nevertheless, they could shrink the number of casualties even further if they used Mana Knight in earnest. However, they needed to keep their operation a secret, so all countries had refrained from using Mana Knight weapons.
“Do you have a complaint?”
The Mayor asked Grace.
“No. I know and I understand why we are doing this. Still, I mourn the loss of lives.”
Silence descended into the room.
Sungyoon placed a hand on Grace's shoulder. She put on a faint smile, but there was no strength behind it.
“That’ll be at an end soon. Once we erect the force field, monsters won’t be able to approach Earth. We’ll eradicate all the monsters and turn Armstrong city into a safety zone!”
The Mayor slammed his hand down on the table. His eyes were burning with passion.
“We’ll take a step toward victory.”
They would've completely secured their rear by then and could transition to offense.
“However, you do have a point. We’ve secured enough reserves of Mana Knight.”
The Mayor’s voice rose in excitement.
“We no longer have to wait. We’ll start recapturing Armstrong city!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter