In his memories, his mother had always been strong and benevolent. He remembered her smile. They could no longer see that smile anymore, but the memory of her smile lived and breathed within the heart of Tim and Emily. It gave them hope.
“We are in such rough shape, and we are only in the Beginner’s Labyrinth.”
“Let me be clear about this. This was an accident. Mr. Sungyoon said so too.”
“I know. However, we can’t guarantee a scenario like this won’t occur at the Great Labyrinth.”
At that time, they would probably die.
“If I’m being honest, I was a bit suspicious. I wondered if he really was an idiot like us, who is aiming for the Great Labyrinth. When I talked to the Connectors from other companies, they dismissed the idea of going to the Great Labyrinth. They only talked about acquiring a Personal Labyrinth to make money and live a comfortable life.”
By the time such thoughts came to his mind, he had already been talking to Sungyoon.
“My confidence had tanked. I wanted to know if I was wrong or not. That is why I asked him that question.”
“You could have asked me.”
“You are of the same mind as me. Also, I believe he has a special quality.”
The scene in which Sungyoon had applied the final blow to the Bigfoot kept replaying in his mind. Sungyoon had switched weapons in an instant, and then crushed the Bigfoot’s face. At that time, Tim was still being healed from his wound, so he had been slipping in and out of consciousness. But still, he felt an electric sensation move up his spine when he saw the scene.
“So, you got the answer you wanted?”
“I think so.”
Even if everyone said it was a dangerous and foolish goal, he wouldn’t give up on the Great Labyrinth.
“Still, I want to speak to him one more time.”
Tim spoke in a forceful manner.
* * *
Sungyoon spent the past two days in a boring manner. Since he couldn't go into the labyrinth, he really had nothing to do. Of course, it wasn’t as if Armstrong was a boring city. However, it was much more expensive compared to Earth. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this was a place made for extremely wealthy Connectors. In terms of businesses related to pleasure and amusement, this place had more establishments compared to big cities of Earth.
Alcohol, gambling, women, etc. Any pleasure and merrymaking activity one could think of was gathered in this city.
Of course, these were all gathered for the ‘haves’. It wasn’t for the ‘have nots’. Sungyoon was part of the ‘have nots’, and on the Moon, he could basically be considered a beggar. None of the fancy establishments had anything to do with him. The only thing that was made available to him was the streets where he could walk around the city.
At the very least, he was able to get familiar with the layout of the nearby locations, so it was not as if he got nothing done. There was the support center and the Great Labyrinth. Then there was the park where he occasionally met Chelsea. It wasn’t by much, but he had a better idea of what was around him.
Of course, it wasn’t something that he needed to do.
He thought about going around the first floor with no shield. However, he quickly gave up on that idea. He still felt nervous about going into the labyrinth without equipment.
It was excruciating as he tried to kill time. Finally, the appointed time arrived.
“We are here.”
He arrived at the location given to him by Tim. The brother and sister were already there, waiting for him.
Unlike before, the two of them looked clean. When he last saw them, they were caked in dust and blood, thanks to the battle. Frankly, they were a mess. Also, Tim had been wearing a helmet, and Emily had worn the hood of her priestess robe. So, it was Sungyoon’s first time getting a good look at the two of them.
Tim wore skinny jeans, and he had unbuttoned couple buttons on his checkered shirt.
He had curly brown hair, a high nose, and large eyes, giving him the appearance of a typical foreigner. He was 192cm tall, not short. In fact, he was 10cm taller than Sungyoon. His shoulders were broad. His face couldn’t be called handsome, but he looked effortlessly cool.
If Sungyoon was being honest about his opinion, Tim looked like a handsome bear.
Sungyoon approached Tim, and they shook hands.
“Are your injuries better?”
“Yes. It is all healed.”
As if he wanted to prove his statement, he let go of Sungyoon’s hand and started rotating his shoulder. He didn’t show any signs of feeling pain by the movement.
Sungyoon then gave his greeting to Emily, who was standing next to Tim.
“Yes, yes. Hello.”
She sounded a bit shy as she answered him. Sungyoon thought that was a bit weird. She was speaking with a small voice and was having a hard time meeting his eyes. When he saw her two days ago, she hadn’t been this reserved.
Did he pick up on Sungyoon’s confusion? Tim let out a bitter laugh as he placed a hand on Emily’s shoulder.
“This is her normal personality. When she enters the labyrinth, because she is putting her life on the line, she becomes strong-minded. Normally, she is really shy around strangers. She’s quite an interesting character.”
Emily’s small fist hit Tim’s side.
“… Well, she is ruthless towards people that she is close to.”
Tim rubbed at his side as he smacked his lips.
Emily had worn a frill lace blouse that had a bit of a flamboyant embroidery and a long black skirt. As expected of Tim’s sister, she was quite tall for a woman. She looked to be around 173cm tall, and her wavy brown hair reached down her back. Sungyoon frowned a little bit when he saw her face.
‘She’s a beauty.’
When he got a close look at her, he realized that she was an eye-catching beauty. She had the porcellaneous, white skin of a Caucasian. She also had a high nose and large eyes like Tim. One could see brown irises below her long eyelashes, and she kept looking at the ground. She was quite shy and hesitant in her actions. Everything about her made one want to protect her. Her beauty was so great that her shyness was a plus factor.
‘These days why am I...’
Sungyoon inwardly let out a big sigh. Why was he suddenly so blessed with women now? No. In Sungyoon’s perspective, it was a horrible curse.
“Let’s head in.”
Tim opened the door to the store as he spoke. At this point, Sungyoon wanted to turn back, but he had promised a meal with them. He let go of his trepidation as he followed Tim.
The store had a lot of customers, so there were a lot of round tables and chairs inside the building. There was a glass door on the wall leading into a walk-in refrigerator. Then there were several dozen microwaves lined up on a long shelf.
“I’m sorry. We aren’t doing that well in terms of money, so we can only treat you to this place.”
Tim looked embarrassed as he apologized to Sungyoon. However, Sungyoon looked quite interested in the store. He started looking around.
The store only had customers. It had no employees. There were no doors leading into a kitchen.
‘It is a place that only sells frozen food.’
All food had to be brought to the Moon from Earth. It probably was cheaper to provide pre-made food, rather than making the food on the Moon. Moreover, this store was a cashier-less store, so they could cut down payroll costs to a minimum. One of the large factors that contributed to high living costs on the Moon was labor costs. It was a good idea for a store to eliminate that cost.
“Please choose a meal. It isn’t much, but I will pay.”
Tim led Sungyoon towards the refrigerator. Frozen pizza, hot dog, pot stickers, fried chicken, etc. All kinds of frozen food could be found inside the refrigerator. The three of them chose the food they liked, and they warmed the food in the microwave. Then they found a place to sit.
Steam was coming off the food, and it looked tasty. It was basically cheap fast food that could be easily found in a convenience store on Earth. However, on the Moon, these foods were very precious. The fragrant smell coming off the food whetted Sungyoon’s appetite. Ever since he came up to the Moon, he had only eaten the occasional roasted potatoes provided by Chelsea, and the vitamin pack provided by the support center. Sungyoon welcomed the food.
Food wasn’t the only thing Tim purchased. He bought cans of beer for the three of them. The cost of food here couldn’t be compared to the proper restaurant that Jimin had taken Sungyoon to. However, he guessed a good amount of money had been spent by Tim for this meal.
“Yes. Thank you for the meal.”
The three of them started shoveling the hearty meals into their mouths. At that moment, the dishes were comparable to food from high-end restaurants on Earth.
While they ate, they started chatting with each other. They didn’t talk about anything important. This was the second time meeting each other, so of course, they weren’t going to have any deep conversations. They talked about trivial topics in order to get to know each other better. Tim was the one leading the conversation. He would ask a question and Sungyoon would give an answer. Emily was still acting shy, so she didn’t really join in on the conversation. However, it wasn’t as if she wasn’t interested in the conversation. Her ears were pricked up so as to not miss a word of the conversation.
When they drank half the beer, the atmosphere visibly relaxed.
“I just want to say this again. Thank you for saving us.”
Tim placed both hands on the table and lowered his head. His forehead almost touched the table.
“We’ve already settled this account. Also, it isn’t as if you guys were the only ones that benefited from the arrangement.”
“I won’t bring it up ever again after this. However, I want to express my thanks to you. In truth, I thought you would just run away. But when you said you'd run away with my sister, I considered myself to be lucky.”
Tim looked embarrassed as if he was revealing a dirty secret.
“It’s the same for me. I was worried the two of you would run away after you passed on the Bigfoot to me.”
“Oh really? It seems we were on the same wavelength.”
Tim let out a big laugh. Each of his actions displayed Tim’s magnanimous personality. He took another sip of his beer.
“Koo-ooh~! This is the most annoying thing about the Moon. It is the lack of access to beer. I have to sip it since it costs too much. If I was on Earth, I would have one-shotted this small can of beer.”
He licked his lips and shook the beer can, which was one-third empty. It was as if he was trying to cast a spell that would recover the beer he had drunk. However, a magic like that didn’t occur in front of him. Tim looked at the can with regret in his eyes and put it down.
“You said you are going to attempt the Great Labyrinth?”
“Yes, I did.”
Tim abruptly switched the topic. Sungyoon kept sipping his beer as he answered the question.
“I never expected someone who fought with us against the monster would have the same goal as us. In truth, it was a good feeling. Most of the people around us kept treating us like idiots when we mentioned our goal. They told us to face reality! It is all bullshit. They don’t even have any dreams!”
It seemed he had a lot of emotions pent up in him, so Tim shouted out his words. It was as if he was yelling at the people who had made fun of him. Of course, everyone in the store looked towards Tim. Emily, who had been sipping her beer, kicked her brother in the shin. Tim screamed out in pain as he grabbed his shin. However, it seemed he had finally realized what he had done. He looked around at his surroundings, and he gave apologies to the other patrons. Soon, the noise of the crowd returned.
“Can you shut up?”
She didn’t raise her voice. She lowered her voice even further as she growled out her words towards Tim. It seemed that he was still in pain as he continued to rub his shin. Emily nodded as if she was giving positive reinforcement. It seemed even though he had realized he had done something wrong, the main reason why he complied was the fact that Emily’s leg was swaying back and forth as if she was ready to kick out once again.
“Ah! I showed you something unsightly.”
Tim tried hard to get rid of his pained expression.
“Well, it is our dream, but we inherited this dream from our mother, who was a Connector.”
In their last meeting, Tim had talked about his dream being misguided, but it seemed he had been trying to get an insight into Sungyoon. When Sungyoon had earned a good amount of trust, Tim didn’t hold back as he spoke his inner thoughts.
“So, which one of your parents is a Connector, Mr. Woo? Your father? Your mother? Or, is it a case where both your parents are Connectors?”
“None of them are Connectors. I am a 1st Gen.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter