Chapter 62

Silence descended within the labyrinth. Until a moment ago, he had the distant sounds of footsteps, but now, he no longer heard it. In the dismal darkness, one could hear small laughs.

“Koohk… Koo-koohk…!”

He was trying very hard to suppress his laughter, but some of his mirth escaped his lips. It was an impossible task. He was trying to suppress his delight, yet he let out an extremely cathartic laugh. He did succeed in suppressing the volume of his laugh, albeit barely, so it didn’t ring out within the labyrinth. Still, he was at his limits.

‘Hold it in. I have to hold it in.’

The idiot was oblivious of his impending death. He was heading towards hell. However, if he heard the laughter, the idiot might realize something was wrong. He might come back.

‘I’ll have to let out my mirth when I get to my Personal Labyrinth.’

At that time, he would be able to let out a truly loud laugh. He would be away from the eyes of others, and he wouldn’t even have to worry about the monsters. He would be able to laugh to his heart’s content.

‘Life is such a fickle thing. I was in the worst mood not too long ago.’

Nicholas had been in a very bad mood. Of course, it had to do with the incident yesterday. His mood had hit bottom thanks to the continued clean up of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. Then, yesterday’s incident dropped his mood further to a new bottom. He never expected his mood could worsen so much, yet he had surprised himself by proving himself wrong. 

If he had his way, he wanted to hire a couple of girls and drink alcohol for the next couple of days. He wanted to go into his Personal Labyrinth and hack the monsters into pieces. However, he had to clean up the Beginner’s Labyrinth. The commission, which had been dragging down his mood, still hadn’t come to an end. He kept cussing as he headed towards the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

Of course, he didn’t plan on working hard towards cleaning up the labyrinth. The Mana Stream will hit in a couple of days. Soon, the labyrinth would be refilled with monsters, so the current cleanup was useless. But since he had a contract with Armstrong city, he acted like he was doing his job. He was doing it in order to keep the higher-ups off his back. This was the same for the other high-rank Connectors. They were sealing off certain tunnels, but they weren’t going all out in killing the high-rank monsters.

Nicholas was subbing in for his colleague, who had guarded this tunnel overnight. He let out a big yawn and started his job as a sentry. At times, he had to kill monsters that didn’t know their place. Aside from those incidents, it was an extremely boring task.

That was why he had been daydreaming about what had happened yesterday. In his mind, he imagined killing Sungyoon in several hundred ways. Besides that, he imagined several thousand ways he would have molested and raped Chelsea and Grace.

“Tsk!”

He clicked his tongue. His sharp senses picked up something coming towards him. But it wasn’t a monster. It was a human.

‘It is another maggot blinded by a little money.’

The Mana Stream was close at hand, yet this maggot was still trying to earn some chump change. These maggots hadn’t returned to Earth. They were the reason why he still had to honor his commission. The cleanup of the Beginner’s Labyrinth and Sungyoon made Nicholas hate the beginner Connectors. His anger was stacking up against them. This was why Nicholas wasn’t looking kindly towards the approaching Connector.

“Uh?”

Nicholas, who had been frowning, showed surprise when he caught sight of the approaching Connector. However, his surprise lasted only a moment. A murderous intent appeared alongside his smile.

‘Look who it is!’

The maggot slinking towards his direction had a very familiar face. It had only been a day since Nicholas had seen him. However, this particular Connector had rocketed to the top of his kill list.

It was Sungyoon.

‘Should I kill him right now?’

There were no bystanders. Even if Nicholas killed him, no one would care. He would merely be a single beginner Connector gone missing within the labyrinth. Even if he didn’t take care of the corpse, the monsters would take care of it. Also, the imminent Mana Stream would make sure there would be no evidence. It really was the perfect timing to do this.

‘No. This isn’t it.’

However, Nicholas shook his head from side to side. That would be too easy. He had a more entertaining idea.

‘You are a Connector, so you should get the full experience of fighting the rest of the monsters. You won’t face the monsters left behind by us. You’ll face the high ranked monsters.’

Sungyoon still hadn’t noticed Nicholas. Nicholas had superior vision compared to the beginner. It was to be expected.

Nicholas moved his body. He reduced the sounds of his footsteps to the best of his abilities, since he didn’t want Sungyoon to notice. He stood in front of the tunnel that had been cleared. He made sure the non-cleared tunnel looked like it had been cleared and vice versa.

As he had intended, Sungyoon moved by him to enter the depths of hell.

“Koo-koo-koo-koohk!”

Nicholas kept letting out silent laughs as he once again took his original post.

He had been faithfully guarding the tunnel that led straight to the lowest floor of the Beginner’s Labyrinth. There was only one entrance, and it led to nowhere else. As expected of a labyrinth, there were many complex tunnels, and this particular one led straight to a place that would be hell for Sungyoon. It would be glorious.

‘If he runs back out after a short amount of time, I’ll just cut him down. That’s all there is to it.’

What if he couldn’t run away in a short amount of time?

‘He will be dead.’

The only regret he had was that he couldn’t see the maggot’s despairing face as he would be slowly eaten alive by the monsters.

* * *

‘Shit!’

Sungyoon collapsed to the ground as he placed his back against the labyrinth’s wall. He focused on using his ears to pick up any abnormal sound. Fortunately, he didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary.

‘Why the hell are they here!’

He didn’t know the exact time, but he had been on the run for a couple of hours. For the first time, he had continuously kept running into monsters that shouldn’t be present in the Beginner’s Labyrinth. He knew the cleanup this time around hadn’t been perfect, but he was encountering high ranked monsters at an alarming rate. After he ran away from the first monster he encountered, it didn’t take him too long to encounter another monster. It was the same type of monster that had been chasing him before, a monster much higher in rank than the ones normally found in the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

He realized it at that moment. Something was off about his current location. The Mana Stream was close at hand, yet this place still had a lot of monsters, and they were all high ranked. It was as if this place hadn’t been cleaned up.

‘I entered a place they hadn’t finished cleaning!’

Sungyoon accurately assessed his situation. At the same time, he realized how much danger he was in.

‘Where was it?’

He had a hunch as to where things went wrong. It was where the sentry had been guarding the tunnel. He didn’t know what went wrong, but the most likely explanation was that he had entered into the wrong tunnel.

‘Was he guarding the wrong tunnel?’

Sungyoon could have never imagined that Nicholas was the sentry. That was why he thought the sentry had made a mistake, and he grinded his teeth. He might die, just because of someone else’s mistake.

However, he didn’t have the luxury to rage and continue grinding his teeth.

-Koo-roohk!

He once again heard the cry of a monster. Sungyoon gritted his teeth. It seemed the monster hadn’t located Sungyoon yet.

‘Go away! Please go away!’

He didn’t want to make any sound, so he put his hands over his mouth just in case. The only things moving were his eyes. 

After a while...

‘It left.’

The monster’s presence was gone. Sungyoon lowered his hands from his mouth, and he let out a sigh of relief. A sigh escaped from his lungs, a sigh containing many emotions that he couldn’t express with his words.

‘I have to escape somehow—’

But before he could finish his thought, Sungyoon raised his shield.

Pah-jeek!

A bone-chilling sound emanated from the shield, and the Connector felt his body lift into the air.

“Ah-oohk!”

It was as if he had been hit by an enormous hammer. Sungyoon rolled across the ground in an ungainly manner.

‘What the hell!’

His left arm felt numb, and it wouldn't move. He clutched at his left arm, as he looked up to find an enormous monster sneering down at him.

‘How? I didn’t sense the monster’s presence!’

He was sure the monster had left.

‘Wait a moment. How did I know it had left?’

When he had heard the growl fade away into the distance, Sungyoon had relaxed. But now, he realized there might have been another possibility.

‘It tricked me?’

Cunning! This was a trait that had been missing in all the monsters that he had encountered up until now.

Sungyoon felt a shiver run down his spine. He was already physically at a disadvantage. If his opponent was cunning....

-Ooh-uhhhhhhh!

The monster let out a roar that rang inside the labyrinth.

Boom! Boom!

It started running towards its target. Sungyoon quickly got up. He saw it reach out with its hand and reflexively swung his mace.

Ting!

The mace had hit its arm, yet an unbelievable sound was heard. Incredible hard scales covered the monster's body, and it easily deflected his mace.

‘I’m in over my head.’

His right arm throbbed as he desperately dodged the Lizardman’s attack. In many ways, Sungyoon was oddly calm as he collected his thoughts. 

He no longer thought about fighting it. When the Lizardman would show signs of attacking again, he would start sprinting away from it.

Boom! Boom!

The sound of the monster’s footsteps rang out from behind him.

‘Thankfully, it isn’t too fast.’

It seemed that it was a monster deficient in speed. Still, this wasn’t particularly good news. If its specialization was not speed, it was obvious what was. It would be either strength or endurance. 

As Sungyoon ran, he made an assessment of his body.

‘Thankfully, nothing is broken.’

The strong impact had temporarily numbed his arm. But, feelings were returning to his left arm. It was good news, but it didn’t mean there wasn't any bad news.

‘My shield is….’

He had been busy running away, so he had only taken a glance at his shield. He had seen numerous cracks. He didn’t think it could block any more attacks.

It had almost destroyed a Blue Rank Gem with a single blow. The monster possessed a frightening amount of strength.

‘If I didn’t have this shield in my possession...’

It wasn’t too hard to guess what would have happened. His body would have been obliterated, and his corpse couldn’t even have been pieced together at that point.

‘Still, I was somehow able to run away.’

Thankfully, the monster was running at a slow pace. It was fast when compared to a normal human, but to Sungyoon, a Connector, it wasn't enough to catch up. Its slow and deliberate gait might have been the reason why it was able to sneak up on him.

However, it was too early for Sungyoon to think that way.

This wasn’t the normal section of the Beginner’s Labyrinth, where weak monsters were sparsely populated.

-Goo-ruh-ruh-ruh!

He heard the cry of a monster. It sounded clearly different from the monster chasing after him. Sungyoon looked at the tunnel up ahead.

It inevitably made Sungyoon’s face turn pale. His face looked as white as a piece of paper.

Boom!

An enormous paw took a step forward as if it wanted to stomp on Sungyoon’s pitiful hope. He could see sharp claws with a metallic sheen. This new monster had large canines, and its red eyes were vertically slit. It looked at Sungyoon with murderous intent in its eyes.

This new monster blocked Sungyoon’s path.

Sungyoon came to a halt. He had nowhere else to go.

‘Shit!’

Envoys of death were pinching him from both sides. Sink or swim, he had to fight them.

Sungyoon firmed his resolve. He glanced down at his Device. To be precise, he looked at the Gold Gem slotted into the Device.

Jimin had given it to him. She said it was a Gem that might save his life once.

‘I really don’t want to use this.’

He wasn’t regretting the fact that he had to use it. Since he wanted to save his life, he had no choice but to use it. The reason why he hated using it was something else.

‘I don’t know what ability it’ll give me.’

As it was a Gold Gem, it would undoubtedly possess a great ability. However, there was a possibility that its ability might not be helpful in his current situation. Sungyoon’s Gold Gem would awaken a special ability in him. If it possessed any other shape, he would have a rough plan knowing its preset function. But, he couldn’t predict what would happen after he activated it.

‘Fuck it. It’s a do-or-die situation!’

Sungyoon activated the Gold Gem.

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