Kevil was one of the three officers Grenoid had personally created, so its death was a shocking piece of news.
The three officers, including Udocus, were very proud that their great master had a direct hand in their creation. Therefore, Udocus's actions made a bit sense.
He wasn’t sad about his comrade's death; he was sad that one of his master’s creations had perished.
However, only Udocus and Grenoid's other creations held this view.
“Is that so? That’s too bad.”
Since Jinsoo was a human, he didn’t have much of a reaction, and this fueled Udocus’s anger.
“Aren’t you angry that one of the beings our great master created is no more?”
“What do you want me to do about it?”
Jinsoo picked his ear.
“It isn’t as if I had a lot of interaction with Kevil. Whenever I saw him, he acted arrogantly. I couldn’t even greet him properly. Would I cry and throw a tantrum for someone like that? If I did that, it'd be abnormal.”
Jinsoo took his finger out of his ear and blew away the earwax on his fingertip.
“Will you shout in tears if Mr. Hyunwoo or I pass away? Or will you be like us and treat it as a nonstory?”
Jinsoo was making an invidious remark, but he had also addressed the heart of the problem.
Udocus ground his teeth, but he had no answer for Jinsoo, and this made Jinsoo crow over Udocus.
“Stop it, Kim Jinsoo. He was still our comrade. Even if you can’t be sad for the loss, you should stay quiet.”
Jinsoo looked at Hyunwoo. He thought Hyunwoo was making a joke, but Hyunwoo solemnly nodded.
“If you say so.… I go with whatever you say, Mr. Hyunwoo.”
Jinsoo raised a hand toward Udocus.
Earth had something called a non-apology apology. Jinsoo was doing that.
Udocus’s patience had reached a limit.
“Ah! I have some work to do. I have to go now!”
Jinsoo realized this, so he quickly went out toward the labyrinth.
Udocus continued to glare at Jinsoo’s back, but in the end, the thick dark energy around his hands dissipated.
“I’m sorry about him.”
Hyunwoo apologized, but Udocus coldly turned his back on him.
An awkward atmosphere formed around them.
Hyunwoo wasn’t as dispassionate as Jinsoo, but he wasn’t the type to be swayed by the mood around him.
He immediately asked a question.
“Our biggest fighting power left behind on Earth is dead. What will we do now?”
Udocus didn’t want to deal with any humans, whether it was Jinsoo or Hyunwoo. However, he couldn’t act like that as one of Grenoid's officers.
Moreover, Hyunwoo wasn’t asking any personal questions. His question was a tactical one.
“… Even if he died, he died after doing what was needed.”
Udocus slowly walked, and Hyunwoo followed him.
“I told you before. I sent Kevil to Earth with a couple of contingency plans.”
“You did say that.”
“He carried out the final yet worst plan.”
“Final yet worst plan? Are we in that desperate of a situation right now?”
Hyunwoo earnestly spoke.
“No. An incredible opportunity has presented itself. We are at a slight disadvantage right now, yet we’ll soon flip the table on our enemies.”
“Then, why did you call it the worst of plans?”
Udocus stamped his staff on the ground, and the loud sound reverberated through the labyrinth.
“It’s a plan that can only be exercised when Kevil loses his life!”
Udocus was truly grief-stricken over Kevil’s death. Of course, Hyunwoo didn’t feel an ounce of sympathy for him.
“Does that mean our side will regain the advantage?”
“Yes. However, it won’t happen immediately. We have to make preparations.”
“Power! Blood! Souls! Sacrifices!”
Udocus whipped around his body. His red eyes intently stared at Hyunwoo.
“Tell Glaia to bring all the monsters she can control!”
“Are you sure about that? We still haven’t recovered from our losses.”
Grenoid's officers couldn’t control all the monsters within the labyrinths. They weren’t Grenoid after all.
If they had such power, they could've made the world cry. They would've pulled off a strategy that would've shocked the world. Humanity wouldn’t have been able to take back Armstrong city.
Currently, Glaia was trying to refill the ranks of monsters lost during the fight for Armstrong city. She was going around spreading her influence over the monsters not under their control.
“It’s fine! If this plan is successful, we don’t have to waste time on the other trivial plans!”
“Understood. I’ll tell Glaia.”
“What do you plan on doing with the monsters?”
“We're stuck on the Moon right now, and we can attack only one place.”
“You're referring to Armstrong city.”
Udocus’s red eyes shone brighter.
Hyunwoo became lost in his thoughts for a brief moment.
‘The safety zone can only be created when the four cities are completely awakened. Moreover, the magic city started awakening after its seed was activated.’
It hadn’t been long since the seed had been activated.
‘At the very least, they can't create the safety zone in the near future.’
It seemed Udocus was confident in his plan. If things went along his plan, Armstrong city would be overrun by monsters, and humanity would be expelled from the Moon once again.
‘I guess it doesn’t matter.’
Hyunwoo didn’t care if Armstrong city fell or not. It was none of his business. In fact, the fall of Armstrong city might accelerate his own plan.
‘How strong is Woo Sungyoon now? Should I visit him for a short time? Should I go tell him about this plan?’
Despite the thought, Hyunwoo inwardly shook his head from side to side.
‘No. I don’t need to help him anymore. In fact, it’ll be detrimental to his growth to help him too much.’
Hyunwoo had already pointed out the path that would lead humanity to victory.
‘If he dies now, he isn’t the person I’m looking for.’
That person wouldn’t be able to become strong enough to reach Hyunwoo’s standard.
“We’ll hit Armstrong city and finish the ritual Kevil started. The humans are probably in a joyous mood because they killed Kevil. We’ll teach them a lesson.”
Udocus’s words were filled with murderous intent, and they broke Hyunwoo out of his reveries.
It was said that time flies. In the past, Sungyoon had felt this saying to be true when he had reached his late twenties, the period when he had started showing signs of aging.
Afterward, he had felt time flying faster and faster.
It especially felt true in recent days.
In the micro, Sungyoon was fighting for Shinhae’s future. In the macros, he was fighting to bring peace to humanity. That was why he felt the time was flying.
When he came to his senses, Sungyoon was farther out into the future.
“Dad! Look here!”
It was Shinhae’s growth period. She had grown a lot. Her voice oozed excitement as she put on her backpack. Shinhae was about to greet her eighth birthday.
The current year was almost coming to an end.
Shinhae was choosing a new backpack since she would be entering elementary school next year.
“Do you like it?”
Sungyoon smiled as he spoke. He didn’t look at the price tag in the first place as he had decided to buy the one Shinhae liked. However, Shinhae looked a bit iffy regarding the current backpack.
She took it off, held it in front of her with both hands, and stared at it. Then, she turned to look at Sungyoon.
“I want to see the other ones!”
“Yes. Take your time.”
Shinhae hummed as she ran toward the racks with all the backpacks. A conflicted expression appeared on her face as she looked at the choices.
Sungyoon stood in the back and looked on with a satisfied expression on his face.
‘These are the style of backpacks elementary students wear now?’
Sungyoon’s gaze moved on from Shinhae and fell at the large selection of backpacks. More than thirty years had passed since Sungyoon attended elementary school. Of course, the design of backpacks had changed a lot in this time.
At that moment, he thought he would be as happy as he could be if Shinhae liked the backpack he had picked out.
Sungyoon started to look through the rack to pick out the backpacks that caught his eyes.
Sungyoon turned his head when a camera let out a flash.
Middle-school girls had pointed their phones toward him and were squealing. When he turned his gaze further, he realized a lot of people had gathered a distance away. They were all whispering to each other.
Many of these people had pointed their phones toward him.
‘I’ll never get used to this.’
First, he had received an embarrassing nickname called the Knight. Now, they were starting to call him the Guardian of Earth.
It was to be expected since the masses had started showing more interest in Connectors after they had started the fight with Grenoid.
And since Sungyoon was the most famous Connector, the public’s interest in him had skyrocketed.
‘The Mayor is also fanning the flames.’
[Please listen to me carefully, Mr. Sungyoon.]
He remembered what the Mayor had said to him.
[We're at war. I know you're all tired, and I feel an immense amount of guilt for pushing you all into the battlefield. However, the civilians on Earth are also suffering a lot.]
War was painful for everyone.
[Moreover, this war is unprecedented in the history of Earth. We're fighting a war against non-humans. This means that the public is more afraid than usual. In a war, it's very important to shore up the home front. The people produce the supplies needed in the war and make up the reserve troops. Connectors hold an important role, but regular people excavate and process Mana Knight. So, it's very important to secure the home front.]
The war was happening to protect the homefront. Basically, everyone was fighting to protect their country and their people.
[We have to stabilize the homefront. To do so, we have to reassure the civilians. That's why...]
Sungyoon remembered the Mayor's apologetic expression.
[I’m really sorry to say this, but we have to make some Connectors, including you, heroes.]
It wasn’t a surprising development. When one looked through history, wars always had heroes. It was a surefire way to boost morale.
Moreover, Sungyoon had defeated Kevil, and this had put him back into the spotlight. He was like a black hole that sucked the attention of not just the Koreans, but the whole world.
It wasn’t funny, but this was why he had become the poster boy for their cause. Therefore, he couldn’t express his annoyance when people interrupted his precious time with Shinhae.
‘I can’t believe I have to manage my image at this age.’
The best course of action Sungyoon could take was ignoring the people around him.
He really didn’t like coming outside, and he avoided it if he could help it. However, he had to come out this time since it was a special event where Shinhae needed a new backpack for elementary school. He couldn’t miss such an event.
‘I should go back to picking out a bag.’
Suddenly, Sungyoon realized that he had a really poor taste, so he looked for an employee.
Was it a coincidence? It probably wasn’t.
The employee had been hovering around Sungyoon as if he were Sungyoon’s personal assistant. He quickly moved to Sungyoon when he was called.
He looked to be a man in his late twenties or early thirties.
However, the man looked like a kid who had just met his favorite comic-book hero. His eyes twinkled.
Sungyoon almost said something he might have regretted. He couldn’t get used to such a gaze, but he knew he had to endure it.
“Which one is the most popular item—”
Sungyoon couldn’t end his sentence. His phone started ringing in his pocket, and his face stiffened.
“Huh? Aren’t you going to answer the phone, Dad?”
Shinhae, who had been shopping for a backpack, approached him.
Sungyoon forced a smile, nodded, and took out his phone.
“Ah! That phone is different from the one you usually use!”
Shinhae laughed, but Sungyoon couldn’t laugh.
This phone wasn’t for personal use. It was a phone that would be used in emergencies.
Since it was ringing, it meant that an emergency had occurred somewhere.
“Yes. This is Woo Sungyoon.”
Sungyoon’s voice sounded heavy.Previous Chapter Next Chapter