Chapter 58

Its head had dropped to a location where he could hit it easily. Sungyoon moved his hands.

Puh-uh-uhk!

The hard steel head of the mace squarely hit the Heavy Muscle Gorilla's face. The face didn’t have any fur, and the hide on it was thin compared to the rest of its body.

-Poo-uhhhhhh!

The terrifyingly sharp teeth that looked like corn kernels flew into the air, and the monster's face sunk inwards. It seemed Sungyoon had hit a weak spot.

Tul-suhk!

Its other knee buckled. At a glance, one could see that it had completely lost its ability to fight. But Sungyoon didn’t stop.

Kwah-jee-jeek!

The mace flew towards its face for the second time, and this time, the face completely cratered inwards. Where the face used to be, a red hole made out of pulverized flesh had been formed.

Boom!

Its upper body fell forward.

Drip! Drip!

Blood dripped down from Sungyoon’s mace. It was clear that the monster was dead, but Sungyoon swung his mace again. He confirmed his kill.

“Are you ok?”

After dispatching the Heavy Muscle Gorilla, Sungyoon queried Tim. Tim had been stalling the monster by himself, but he shrugged and indicated that he was alive and well.

“I’m unscathed.”

Sungyoon nodded. He took a look at Tim and couldn’t see any wounds.

Then, Sungyoon turned his gaze towards the fallen monster. At the same time, Tim signaled Emily with his eyes. When Emily showed hesitation, Tim looked frustrated as he urged Emily on.

“E... excuse me…. Are you ok, Mr. Sungyoon?”

“Yes, I’m fine.”

Sungyoon’s gaze rested on Emily for a brief moment as he answered her. However, after that, his gaze was drawn to the corpse of the monster once again.

But, it was enough for Emily. She made a small fist, looking happy. Tim was her big brother, but even he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

After recovering the moonstones from the two monsters, he looked at his watch. The clock hands indicated that it was quite late.

“Shall we wrap it up for the day?”

“Sure. Let’s do that.”

Tim let out a big yawn. He smacked his lips as he pointed upwards. 

“Let’s head up.”

Sleeping within the labyrinth was dangerous in itself. Even if they were traveling in a party, they had to minimize the risk. That was why, when it was time to sleep, they went up a floor or two.

Sungyoon’s party climbed up to the 6th floor to sleep. They killed all the nearby monsters before settling down.

They spread their blankets on the floor.

Unlike Sungyoon’s beaten-up blanket, the two siblings had clean blankets. However, he didn’t mind at all.

Tim had been bothered by this, but Sungyoon said it was ok, so Tim no longer paid attention to it. Sungyoon’s personality made him indifferent to small details like that. But even though Sungyoon showed no signs of caring about his blanket, when she saw it, Emily still felt sorry for him. 

Sungyoon took out his dinner one by one. He called it dinner, but his meal was all shaped like pills. He merely ate a couple of nutritional supplements for dinner. It was the same for Tim and Emily. The scene looked as if three people with seasonal flu were sharing medicine with each other. They washed down the nutritional supplement with water. That was all they ate for a meal.

Tim kept shaking the box containing his nutritional supplements.

“We’ll be going up as planned tomorrow. We don’t have much water or supplements left.”

“I guess it is already that time.”

Sungyoon looked at the hard rocks making up the ceiling of the labyrinth. However, no regret could be found in his voice. For the past three days in the labyrinth, he had constantly been fighting against monsters that were aiming for his life. It really fatigued his mental state.

When they would exit the labyrinth tomorrow, he could, at least, get one solid day of rest. It buoyed his feelings. Also, there was the weight he was carrying. The bag, which he had brought from Earth, was full with moonstones. It further elevated his mood.

“I want a beer when we get out of here.”

“I’m taking a bath.”

Tim and Emily spoke as they laid down in their respective blankets on the floor.

‘Beer and a bath.’

Sungyoon became thirsty when he heard their words. Apart from all the fighting, he hadn’t been able to wash for the past couple of days, so the stench rising from his clothes was bothering him. However, there was something else he missed the most. He missed seeing Shinhae’s face.

Sungyoon took out the treasured picture of Shinhae, which he had kept next to his heart. He kept staring at the picture. 

“You said she’s your daughter, right?”

Tim had moved up next to him. He craned his neck to look at the picture.

“She really is a cute child.”

He was annoyed at Tim for getting in the way of him looking at Shinhae’s picture. However, as Tim complimented Shinhae, his annoyance disappeared as soon, and he nodded.

“How old is she?”

“She is five years old.”

Emily stealthily moved up next to Sungyoon’s side, and she joined in on the conversation. Her eyes remained rooted on Shinhae’s picture.

When she had heard Sungyoon was a married man with a daughter, Emily felt bad about it. However, she soon got rid of that emotion. Polygamy was normalized amongst Connectors in the first place. On the other hand, it was true that her quest for love had gotten much harder. She had to gain favor from Sungyoon, but she also had to be in good graces with the child and the child’s mother.

“What kind of person is her mother?”

Instead of the child, she was more worried about the child’s mother. Therefore, Emily asked the question.

Tim showed surprise in his eyes. He never expected his sister to be so aggressive. In truth, Emily had already scraped together all her non-existent courage, and only then, she was able to ask this question.

Unfortunately, she had stepped on a landmine.

“I’m divorced.”

Emily became mute at Sungyoon’s answer. Judging by the tone of his voice, she inferred that it wasn’t an amicable divorce.

‘W... what should I say?’

She had just wanted to know what kind of person Sungyoon’s wife was. She was really flustered by his answer.

“I... I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.”

She was barely able to offer an apology, but it wasn’t enough. Emily’s eyes naturally headed towards Tim.

‘She really is...’

Tim inwardly let out a sigh. However, he didn’t berate her. Emily wasn’t at fault. She had just been unlucky with her question.

Tim stealthily changed the topic. 

“You are getting pretty used to the 7th floor now. Shall we go lower next time?”

“We should.”

It was true. Sungyoon’s party had not run into many difficulties when they hunted on the 7th floor. Even if they went lower, they would be able to handle it.

However, Sungyoon felt a bit reluctant.

‘As expected, I’m the problem.’

Sungyoon looked at his Devices. He had two bracelets and a necklace. He had twice as many Gems compared to the first time he had entered the labyrinth. However, it was merely quantity over quality.

‘The only equipment that’ll be effective in the lower floors of the Beginner’s Labyrinth will be the mace and shield.’

If he excluded his two Blue Rank Gems, all his other Gems were Purple Rank. They were the lowest of the low. Moreover, one of the Blue Rank Gems wasn’t his. If he had been on his own, he wouldn’t be able to reach the 7th floor. He would have been hard stuck on the 4th floor.

Tim picked up on Sungyoon’s dilemma.

“Mmm. It is true that it’ll be a bit dangerous if we consider Mr. Sungyoon’s Gems.”

Sungyoon was barely getting by right now. If he went down to the 8th floor, a single attack from a monster would shred through his weak Purple Rank armor. He would suffer a critical wound. If he was unlucky, he might be one-shotted.

“If we had any leftover Gems, we would loan it to you. However, these are all we have.”

“No. The fact that you lent me a weapon is good enough.”

They had loaned him a weapon and had allowed him to join their party. He had received enough help from them.

“If only we had all of mother’s Gems...”

Emily mumbled in a low voice. A slightly bitter expression appeared on Tim’s face.

‘They said the exploration of the Great Labyrinth was their mother’s dream, and it is why they are aiming for the Great Labyrinth.’

He remembered the words spoken by Tim when they had shared a drink. Tim and Emily were moving forward towards their dream. He thought they looked so very bright. In comparison, Sungyoon felt like a burnt up husk of himself, of whom only ashes were left behind. In his eyes, the brother and sister were remarkable. 

“It can’t be helped. We’ll have to hunt on the 7th floor for the near future.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize, Mr. Sungyoon. Emily and I had been mainly clearing the 6th floor before we met you. We only came down to the 7th floor occasionally. Now, we are able to hunt easily on the 7th floor. We’ve benefitted enough thanks to you.”

“That’s right! You don’t have to feel guilty about it!”

Tim and Emily waved away Sungyoon’s apology. This was especially true of Emily. She was a little bit extra as she shouted those words, and Sungyoon backed down. Suddenly, she felt that she had been too excessive in her actions, so she once again withdrew into herself. She lowered her head.

“However, shouldn’t you two be clearing the Beginner’s Labyrinth as soon as possible. Don’t you want to be assigned a Private labyrinth?”

Sungyoon looked at their Devices.

They already possessed the prerequisite Gems needed to be assigned a Private labyrinth. It was entirely their personal choice to clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth instead of attempting a Private labyrinth.

“There is a reason why we are trying to clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth. We want to experience killing as many monsters as we can, before entering into a Private labyrinth. We want to grow our skills. We can charge straight towards the last floor, but that’s not our goal.”

“That is why you don’t have to worry too much about it.”

The two were firm in their resolve. Sungyoon decided not to apologize any further. It was unnecessary. Instead, he spoke the words that were more appropriate for this situation.

“Thank you.”

Sungyoon lowered his head towards the two.

* * *

Sungyoon’s party got up early the next day. They had to climb multiple floors, and their progress would be impeded by monsters. This was why they had to move diligently.

When they went up, they took different paths compared to the paths they took to get down to the 7th floor. When they had been descending into the labyrinth, they had taken circuitous routes in order to find more monsters. They didn’t have to do that when going back up. They took the shortest route possible.

“Huh?”

They were in the midst of going up to the 5th floor when Sungyoon, who had been moving towards the nearest stairway, found someone standing in front of a tunnel leading to a different section of the floor.

This person looked quite striking. He wasn’t wearing any leather armor. He didn’t carry weak weapons like wooden shields reinforced with steel. Unlike Sungyoon’s party, this person was decked out. At a glance, one could see he was out of the ordinary.

He wore a smooth plated armor that could easily block any attacks from monsters and didn’t possess a shield. But a 120 cm long great sword was mounted on his shoulder.

Even if Sungyoon’s party attacked him all at once, they wouldn’t be able to cause this person any harm. It would be a one-sided slaughter. This person didn’t belong in the Beginner’s Labyrinth. This was why the gaze of Sungyoon’s party was drawn to this person.

“I guess they aren’t done cleaning up that side.”

Tim spoke. 

Clean up. This word suddenly sparked a memory.

‘They are cleaning up the Beginner’s Labyrinth.’

After the Mana Stream ended, the high-rank Connectors cleaned up the Beginner’s Labyrinth. They only left behind monsters that could be taken on by the beginner Connectors. This meant monsters that were dangerous to beginner Connectors were present beyond this tunnel. This person was standing sentry, so the monsters from that section wouldn’t be able to come out.

The three of them frowned at the same time.

“It seems the clean up was delayed quite a bit this time around.”

Tim sounded aggrieved. The clean up should have already been finished. Moreover, Tim and Emily almost died to a Bigfoot because the high ranked Connectors didn’t do a good job. Of course, they would feel aggrieved towards the people that hadn’t done a good job.

The sentry’s gaze turned towards Sungyoon’s party. He had probably heard the discontentment in Tim’s voice.

Tim shut his mouth. Even if he had a large grievance, this person was a high ranked Connector. If they picked a fight with him, they would lose. It would be a one-sided fight.

Thankfully, the sentry only looked at them and didn’t do anything further. Sungyoon’s party shut their mouths, and they got out of there.

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