“Now that I think about it, we haven't made a proper introduction yet.”
Tim, who had been walking with the help of Emily, spoke to Sungyoon, who was walking in front of them.
“My name is Tim Ross. She is my younger sister Emily Ross.”
Sungyoon had a rough idea of what their names were, but this was the first time hearing their full name. Sungyoon turned his head slightly towards them as he spoke.
“My name is Woo Sungyoon.”
It seemed the two of them didn’t quite catch his name, so Sungyoon broke down his name for them.
“Which country is that name from?”
It seemed they were unfamiliar with a Korean name, so they kept trying to sound it out.
“We are Canadians.”
Since Sungyoon had revealed his nationality, they revealed their own nationality. They’ve been conversing in English from the beginning, so Sungyoon assumed they were from one of the English speaking countries. However, he wasn’t that interested in learning that info.
“Do you mind if I ask you a question? Why do you keep coming back to the labyrinth?”
As expected, Tim had a cheerful and affable personality. He wasn’t put off as he kept talking to Sungyoon.
“Is it for money?”
“That’s one of the reasons.”
Sungyoon gave a short answer.
Tim stopped speaking for a brief moment. He retreated into his thoughts. Only the footsteps of the three Connectors rang out in the large labyrinth. However, Tim once again opened his mouth. It seemed he had come to some kind of a decision.
“We are aiming for the Great Labyrinth.”
Sungyoon had been giving half-assed answers to Tim until that moment. But when he heard him, Sungyoon’s eyes sharpened. He was also aiming for the Great Labyrinth, so he could no longer take Tim’s words lightly.
“We are only in the Beginner’s Labyrinth, yet we are in such rough shape. It is a bit laughable for me to say that.”
A self-deprecating smile appeared on Tim’s face. At a glance, one could tell he was a bit embarrassed. However, Sungyoon just shook his head from side to side, and he no longer gave a half-assed reply. His voice was no longer soulless. He spoke with certainty in his voice.
“The appearance of the Bigfoot was a complete accident. We are all beginners, and any beginner Connector would have died when facing such an obviously superior monster. You shouldn’t be disappointed in yourself. You shouldn’t use today’s experience to say that raiding the Great Labyrinth would be too difficult in the future. It is unnecessary.”
Above all else, he couldn’t agree with Tim’s words. He had almost died just like them. He was a mere 1st Gen Connector, yet he was also aiming for the Great Labyrinth. If Tim and Emily were worthy of being laughed at, Sungyoon would be an even bigger laughingstock.
Tim had an odd expression on his face as he looked at Sungyoon.
Sungyoon hadn’t ridiculed Tim for having the Great Labyrinth as his goal. Instead, Sungyoon had given him constructive advice. Tim was surprised by this.
“You don’t think attempting to raid the Great Labyrinth is a foolish endeavor?”
“Why would I?”
Sungyoon replied back as if he really didn’t know what Tim was talking about. Tim was flabbergasted when he heard this. He was at a loss for words.
“O... Of course, your income will go up, but it is a very dangerous place. Even if one only raids the Personal Labyrinth, one can make enough money to live a comfortable life. Most Connectors do not go into the Great Labyrinth. They only gather moonstones within the Personal Labyrinths. In fact, most Connectors think going to the Great Labyrinth is a stupid idea.”
Tim sounded nervous and a bit happy as he spoke to Sungyoon. There were complicated emotions reflected in his voice. Sungyoon couldn’t comprehend Tim’s intention in saying such words to Sungyoon. Until a moment ago, Tim said his goal was to raid the Great Labyrinth. So why was he only listing the drawbacks?
Still, he didn’t feel the need to delve into this issue. It all varied depending on the person. If Sungyoon’s life was made into a full-length drama, it could probably get a rating of over 50%. He had his reasons for going to the Great Labyrinth, so why wouldn’t others have good reasons for going there?
This was why he decided to say something.
“But you plan on going there.”
“Yes, I am.”
“So why do you care about what other people have to say?”
Sungyoon had already fallen to the bottom once, so he didn’t care what other people had to say at all. Even if several hundred people gathered to laugh at him, he could ignore all of them if they didn’t cause any personal harm to him.
“There are many reasons why Connectors give up their lives for the Great Labyrinth. It could be for bullshit reasons like fame, curiosity, and conceit. There’s also….”
Tim hesitated before he spoke.
“There are people who enter it for a dream.”
At that moment, oddly, Tim didn’t have much confidence in himself.
“Do you not think it's foolish?”
“Not at all. Even if it is for a bullshit reason, it doesn’t matter if it is important to you. If others mock you for being foolish, does that mean it becomes less important to you?”
It was the same for Sungyoon. He placed great importance on honoring a contract. Most people would not put their lives over a contract even if it was important. However, he even valued minor contracts more than his own life. It was as Tim had said. People would ridicule him for having such a value system, however, Sungyoon paid no heed to others.
Tim shut his mouth at Sungyoon’s words. By the look on his face, he was deep in thought.
It didn’t take long for Tim to ask more questions.
“What about you, Mr. Woo? Are you aiming for the Great Labyrinth?”
“Yes, I am.”
Was it because he had met a comrade with similar goals? Tim’s face visibly brightened.
“Do... do you mind telling me your reasons for wanting to go to the Great Labyrinth, Mr. Woo?”
“‘Contract and Obsession. Those are my reasons.”
The answer was like a riddle, so it was enough to fluster Tim.
“Do you mind explaining it a little further?”
Sungyoon was cold as he cut off that line of inquiry.
He wasn’t the only one involved in this story. President Jimin’s past was also a part of his goal. Sungyoon was working towards the Great Labyrinth, because he had a ‘contract’ with Jimin. There was Jimin’s father, and the Great Labyrinth that had swallowed up her father. This was the source of Jimin’s ‘obsession’. It wasn’t a taboo subject, but there was no reason to reveal such information to strangers. As, in the end, this was Jimin’s personal affair.
“I... I see.”
Tim looked a bit disappointed, and his shoulders slumped.
“All I can tell you is that others will call my reasons to be foolish.”
Jimin was pouring all her wealth into finding traces left behind by her father, who had gone missing in the Great Labyrinth. She even acknowledged that her actions were foolish.
“But no matter how much other people laugh at it, I will keep working towards accomplishing this ‘foolish goal’.”
Sungyoon had reached the bottom in life after being pushed off a cliff. This ‘foolish goal’ had saved him from that fate. It was enough of a reason for him to ignore the ridicule of others.
Sungyoon’s answer pierced deep into Tim’s heart. He was moved.
Tim no longer asked any more questions. Sungyoon would periodically receive Emily’s support magic as he killed the monsters in their way. All the moonstones gained during this period were yielded to Sungyoon by the Ross siblings.
How long had it been? Finally, the light started to enter the labyrinth. The three of them let out a sigh of relief. Soon, they were out of the large maw of the Beginner’s Labyrinth, and had returned to Armstrong again.
“Then we’re through here.”
Since they had exited the labyrinth, they no longer needed Sungyoon to escort them. Sungyoon unsummoned his spear, and said his goodbye.
“I want to express this one more time. Thank you very much.”
Tim brought up his hand. Sungyoon grabbed it and gave a light shake. Blood from the Bigfoot and other monsters were caked onto their hands, but the two of them didn’t mind.
“T... Thank you very much.”
Emily, who stood next to Tim, quickly gave thanks. Sungyoon nodded, and he didn’t hesitate as he turned his back on them.
Was he being cool or was he just very cold? If one went by his actions, Sungyoon didn’t look interested in the people, who had shared a life and death situation with him. He was so disinterested that Tim and Emily were taken aback by it.
“P... Please wait!”
Tim desperately called out to Sungyoon. He looked cold when he had turned his back on them, but fortunately, it didn’t take much to stop him. Sungyoon turned around when his name was called.
“Do you have more business with me?”
“Are you free by any chance? If you have some time, I would like to buy you dinner.”
He sounded like one of those men trying to pick up a woman on the streets. Tim became a bit embarrassed by what he said, but he did not take it back. He went the other way. He doubled down on the request.
“I owe you for saving our lives.”
“I merely fulfilled a contract. Also, I took the moonstone and Device dropped by the Bigfoot. It is enough.”
Sungyoon tried to make a clean break, but Tim was persistent.
“Still, it can’t be compared to our lives being saved. Moreover, we caused you harm by bringing the Bigfoot towards you in the first place. Also, there’s something else I want to talk to you about over dinner.”
Sungyoon was conflicted. Even if he had saved their lives, it was part of the contract. He had already received the promised recompense. At this point, he wanted to divest himself from them. Since the balance sheet was zero, it didn’t matter if Tim thought he had caused harm to Sungyoon. Still, Tim’s way of thinking was understandable. Life was that important. At that moment, Tim said something that decided Sungyoon’s decision.
“Neither Mr. Woo or the two of us can go into the labyrinth for a couple of days.”
‘I forgot about that.’
Sungyoon looked down at his original bracelet type Device. The cross-shaped Purple Gem for the shield was no longer in its slot. Moreover, he couldn’t use his newly earned Blue Gem for the near future. It would be too dangerous to enter the labyrinth without a shield. He had to rest for a couple of days until the Blue Gem recovered its color.
“Alright. When do you want to meet?”
Tim’s expression brightened.
“How about a day after tomorrow? My wounds should be healed by then.”
“Let’s do that.”
After the date and location were set, Sungyoon moved away from the two siblings. He swayed on his feet. He was too tired today. He wanted to change clothes, and he wanted to rest.
After Sungyoon left, Tim and Emily slowly started walking towards their lodging.
“Why did you talk about that?”
Emily queried. It was a vague question, and it was hard to understand what she was talking about. But Tim easily picked up on what she was asking about.
“Is it about the Great Labyrinth?”
Even if Tim was affable, it wasn’t a topic that he would suddenly bring up in front of a stranger.
‘Well, there is a chance that he spoke without thinking much about it.’
This might be a bit unfair, but Emily always thought Tim’s affable personality became excessive at times. His careless and laid back personality had blown up in his face before. However, there was clear reasoning behind his actions this time.
“What do you think about that person?”
“Are you talking about Woo Sungyoon?”
Emily slowly looked back at what had happened. She realized that she really had not thought too deeply about Sungyoon, because she had been too worried about Tim’s injuries.
At first reflection, the first emotion to appear was guilt. Even if it was an accident, they were at fault for getting Sungyoon involved in their mess. The next emotion to appear was resentment. He wasn’t at fault, but how could a person only choose between what was right and wrong? Sungyoon hadn’t hesitated in leaving them behind, and she felt frustration at his coldness. The next emotion was joy. Sungyoon had extracted a price, but she had been happy when he took up his weapon for them. She had felt so much joy that it was probably in the top 5 happiest moments in her life. Lastly, he had saved her, and he had defeated the Bigfoot alone when Tim was in trouble. She felt...
Her face suddenly felt flushed.
“H...he seems to be an ok person?”
It seemed she felt a bit hot and bothered, so she spoke as she fanned her face. She couldn’t comprehend the feeling since this was the first time she felt such emotion. It made her feel flustered. It was obvious that she was acting in a constrained manner, but Tim was too deep in his thoughts to notice.
“In the beginning, I spoke about it, because I was laughing bitterly at myself. I know I was a loudmouth saying I want to raid the Great Labyrinth, but you know how it is. You know how we are treated by our company.”
Emily shut her mouth, and an unpleasant emotion filled her face.
“They called it a misguided dream. We are treated like idiots who are throwing our lives away.”
She didn’t hide the uncomfortable feelings. She let it all out. Tim smirked.
“Yes, we are treated like that. It is infuriating, but it doesn’t matter. The raid on the Great Labyrinth is our dream, and….”
Tim’s eyes became unfocused a little bit.
“It was our mother’s dream.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter