Chelsea once again held a paper bag as she visited Korea’s Connector Support Center. She looked quite adept at dodging the busy crowd now. It was the result of her frequent visits to see Sungyoon for the past two weeks.
Chelsea opened the bag to look inside. As usual, it held cold baked potatoes. However, that wasn’t all she brought. It had cooled off like the potato, but there was a long, greasy sausage next to the baked potatoes.
Chelsea had made a truly big decision of including the sausage as a treat.
‘Mmm. This still feels like a waste, but...’
Unlike the potatoes, sausages were one of her favorite foods. Moreover, she usually saved the sausages for the rare occasions when beer was given out with ration. If she ate the sausage with the beer...
The mere thought of the bitter yet refreshing beer made her body shiver. It was one of the few pleasures available to her in her hard life within the Moon’s research center.
Chelsea had decided to forgo this pleasure this one time. She held back her tears.
‘He seems to be a decent person. He is going down to earth tomorrow, so I'll give this as a celebration gift. That’ll be for the best.’
Of course, she hadn’t completely abandoned her suspicion of Sungyoon. However, she no longer viewed him as a bad person. He was just very blunt and gloomy in nature. Moreover, there was a chance that he would make a lot of money in the future. She would give him some food right now, and in the future, he might buy her delicious food when he was rich. She had an ulterior motive for doing this. This was basically an investment opportunity for her.
While she was having such thoughts, she had arrived at her destination. She didn’t hesitate as she entered the building of the Support Center. Chelsea put on a small smile as she approached the receptionist.
She had seen the receptionist several times already, so she gave a lighthearted greeting. The receptionist laughed as he spoke in a familiar manner.
“Are you here to meet him again?”
“Of course. Is he in?”
It was around the time when Sungyoon would be returning from the labyrinth. He was always in the labyrinth or his dorm. This was why Chelsea expected the receptionist to say yes. The receptionist looked at her with a perplexed expression.
“He isn’t in right now.”
“Huh? Is he still not back?”
Chelsea’s face turned a bit serious. Sungyoon always came back from the labyrinth at this time, yet he wasn’t here. There was a chance that he got into some accident within the labyrinth. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.
“No. He came back, but he went back out immediately.”
“Is that so?”
She had brought her precious sausage, so she was a bit disappointed at the news that Sungyoon wasn’t here.
‘What’s gotten into him? Why did he suddenly go out?’
Normally, he was in his capsule. It was so small that she couldn’t call it a room. He was supposed to be resting, yet he wasn’t there today.
“Do you know where he went?”
“I’m not sure...”
The receptionist trailed off. It seemed he really didn’t know.
“Is he in his feelings because he is returning to earth tomorrow?”
Chelsea mumbled to herself in a small voice. If that was true, he was acting cuter than he looked. However, the reason behind Sungyoon’s unexpected move was heavier in nature than she had thought.
The receptionist had overheard Chelsea talk to herself, so he carefully interrupted her monologue.
“He found a corpse within the labyrinth today. I wonder if that has something to do with it.”
Chelsea became surprised.
“Yes. He brought in the ID, Device, and Gems of a Connector. He said he took it off a corpse.”
Chelsea realized why Sungyoon had acted out of character today.
‘Should I go look for him?’
It was her luck that they had missed each other. She thought about heading back, but she quickly nixed that idea. Even if Connectors had a close relationship with death, they usually put blinders on in regard to their own mortality. Sungyoon was probably in a state of shock. It wasn’t as if he was a stranger to her. It felt wrong for her to leave like this. It couldn’t be helped. Chelsea Strobe was a good person at heart.
‘Jimin did ask me to help him a bit from the side.’
Chelsea came up with a likely excuse to convince herself. She said goodbye to the receptionist, and she left the Support Center. However, she was immediately confronted with a difficult problem.
‘…where is he?’
Armstrong was a large city. It was basically impossible to search the entire city. Chelsea had no choice. She decided to check the nearest location that she was familiar with. Her destination was the large park where they had their daily conversations.
There was still a lot of foot traffic in the park. Chelsea swiveled her head as she looked for Sungyoon.
Her eyes took in Sungyoon, who was sitting on a bench. His shoulders were hunched. He was bent over, looking at something in his hand. He was in his own world. He kept mumbling to himself as he stroked the item in his hand. Chelsea had her hand raised. She was about to call out until she saw what he was doing. He looked like a crazy person. It seemed everyone in the park felt the same way as her. They kept well away from Sungyoon.
She thought about just turning around and going back to her lab. However, she couldn’t do that. She slowly approached Sungyoon.
“Excuse me, Mr. Woo Sungyoon.”
She called out his name in a small voice. She was like a member of a bomb disposal unit trying to defuse a bomb.
Sungyoon raised his head. Chelsea was cautious as she inspected his face.
Chelsea was a bit surprised. He had been acting like a crazy person, so she thought he would be in rough shape. He looked to be ok.
“It’s you, Ms Strobe.”
“Yes. You’re here.”
Chelsea sat next to Sungyoon.
“What are you looking at?”
She craned her neck to see what Sungyoon was looking at. She saw a picture of a girl with a bright smile on her face. She was a foreigner, yet the child looked cute and adorable to her too.
“Oh wow. She’s cute. Who is she?”
Chelsea’s face was between Sungyoon’s face and the picture now. Her disheveled hair was right in front of his face. Unexpectedly, he could smell a very fragrant smell of shampoo coming from her hair. She didn’t brush her hair, but it seemed she washed her hair every day.
A normal man would have found his heart speeding up. One might also fall under the false impression that she was interested in him.
From Sungyoon’s perspective, she was merely a ‘nuisance’ obstructing him from viewing Shinhae’s picture.
Still, he didn’t push her head away. She had done much for him in recent days, so he caught himself. In the end, he just let out a small sigh as he answered her question.
“Woo Shinhae. She is my daughter.”
“Daughter? Ah. You did say you had a daughter before.”
Suddenly, Chelsea looked between the picture and Sungyoon. She couldn’t believe this gloomy guy was related to this cute child. However, it didn’t take her long to accept this fact.
‘He is handsome.’
He always kept his mouth shut, and when he did speak, he was curt. However, if one ripped away the excess packaging, Sungyoon was a handsome man. She was barely able to convince herself that the girl in the picture was this man’s daughter.
“She is a really cute child.”
Chelsea expressed her feelings out loud. Usually, she had enough sense to be politically correct around others. In polite society, it wasn’t proper to tell a man that ‘Your daughter is ugly. She isn’t cute.’ Still, how could all children be cute? That was impossible. Most people spoke words they didn’t mean. They gave platitudes. This time Chelsea didn’t have to lie. If the cuteness scale was from one to ten, she was a nine.
Chelsea discreetly glanced at Sungyoon as she spoke those words.
‘Even if he is a gloomy man, I complimented his daughter. He should show some kind of reaction, right?’
Chelsea was correct in predicting the result. No, this was beyond being correct. His reaction was beyond her imagination.
Chelsea hadn’t known this man for too long. However, she pegged him as someone that was incapable of laughing so brightly. She now knew he was capable of speaking with joy. The dark and gloomy image was blown away in one go. There was only infinite love for his daughter reflected on his face. Sungyoon stroked the picture of his daughter with love.
Chelsea’s mouth had fallen open a little bit, and she looked at Sungyoon as if she couldn’t believe her eyes. The dark, dirty, and shabbily dressed man was shining brighter than anyone she had seen before.
“Huh? What’s wrong?”
As if what she had seen was an illusion, Sungyoon’s expression returned to being dark and gloomy. Chelsea’s body flinched as if she had woken up from a dream.
“Ah. It is nothing.”
Chelsea shook her head from side to side.
“Ah. Anyways, you should eat this!”
She had been mesmerized by Sungyoon for a brief moment. She didn’t want this to be known, so she hurriedly pushed the paper bag towards him. Of course, it wasn’t as if she had suddenly fallen for him. If she had to describe the emotion she was feeling; it was akin to shock.
“I want to thank you for always doing this for me.”
Sungyoon took the familiar paper bag. He had received food from Chelsea numerous times. He wouldn’t turn down the food now.
“I went big today. I brought you a sausage too. It is to celebrate your trip to earth tomorrow.”
A single cold sausage was given as a celebratory present. People on earth would belly laugh if they received such a present. However, it was a very big present for those that lived at the bottom of the Moon’s societal pyramid.
Sungyoon’s eyes widened in surprise, and he checked the contents of the paper bag. Aside from the potatoes she usually brought, there really was a sausage there. His mouth watered. How long had it been since he had animal protein? It didn’t matter that it was a cold sausage.
Sungyoon glanced at Chelsea. Chelsea had already regained her composure, and she gestured for him to eat with her hand.
He gave his thanks then he carefully lifted the sausage. Until now, he had eaten her potatoes without complaint. There was no way he would refuse her generosity because she added a sausage to it. That would be weird. Sungyoon put the sausage in his mouth, and he started to chew.
Chelsea waited for Sungyoon to finish eating the sausage. Sungyoon had been unable to have a decent meal while he lived on the Moon. Chelsea knew this was a moment to be savored.
However, she was having a completely different thought at that moment.
‘I was wondering why Jimin was showing so much interest in this man. Does she see her father in this man?’
She had heard Jimin’s father had treasured her. It was the reason why she was having a hard time accepting her father's death and was going through all kinds of hardship for him. When Sungyoon was looking at her daughter’s picture earlier, his face had become full of happiness. Chelsea had received much love from her parents, but her father hadn’t shown the degree of love shown by Sungyoon.
‘He really is an idiot for his daughter.’
She had clearly witnessed a new side of Sungyoon.
While she was having such thoughts, Sungyoon had finished eating the sausage and the potatoes. As always, Chelsea yanked the paper bag away from him. He was already familiar with her action, so he let her have the bag without any fuss.
Normally, Chelsea would use the food as a weapon. She wanted to find out if Sungyoon wanted to cause harm to Jimin, so she asked several questions for the price of giving him the food. Sungyoon knew Jimin had asked Chelsea to help him, so he tried to be honest in answering all her questions.
However, her question today was different than the ones she normally asked.
“I heard you saw a corpse today?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter