Chapter 76

Was it just a feeling? The air on the 8th floor felt a bit different. However, that was it. The rest was the same. It looked like the same labyrinth they had seen up until now.

Still, it was their first time coming to this floor. The three of them were tense as they slowly walked through the floor.

It was a bleak atmosphere, as if a monster would appear at any moment.

However, this mood was broken when they saw their path blocked by a sentry and a 'Do not Enter' sign. 

The party didn’t even complain anymore. They just silently turned back. Of course, they felt aggrieved and angry inside, but they had already spent most of their anger early on, when they had encountered the first sealed section. They were tired of reacting each time they came across such a situation.

“It’s a monster!”

Tim yelled out loud. There was an extreme delight in his voice.

The monster was a Bloody Rhino. They were familiar with it since they had killed a lot of them on the 7th floor. But as the party had come down a floor, they knew that this monster would be stronger. They had been tense when they came down here. Their hearts were hardened, yet the only thing they saw on the 8th floor was a damned sealed section. It was understandable as to why they were happy to see a monster.

However, they were experienced as a party now. At the very least, they didn’t immediately charge towards the newly discovered monster in excitement. They got into their normal formation. Since this was their first battle on the 8th floor, both men received buffs from Emily. Tim and Sungyoon started their close combat fight with the monster.

As expected, this Bloody Rhino was a bit stronger than the one on the 7th floor. However, it wasn’t to a point where they couldn’t handle it. In fact, they had a relatively easy time killing the Bloody Rhino.

Finally, they had killed a monster on the 8th floor. The party’s mood lifted. It felt good because their powers were effective against a monster on this floor.

However, it didn’t take too long for them to run into another sealed section. The frequency of them encountering sealed sections were increasing, and their morale started dropping once again.

“It seems that they are just starting to clean up on the 8th floor.”

They had been silent as they continued to move. But when he saw another sealed section, Sungyoon couldn't help but speak. Tim had no words at that moment. If he opened his mouth right now, the only thing that would come out were numerous swear words. And if he did that, it might anger the sentry.

This time, Emily spoke up instead of her brother.

“I guess so.”

It didn’t matter where they went. They always encountered a sealed section, and it felt as if they had been surrounded by sealed sections.

“What should we do? We won’t be able to hunt properly on the 8th floor.”

When he heard Emily’s words, Sungyoon looked towards the sealed section. It was like an enormous wall that was getting in their way. It was taunting them. 

“… let’s head back up.”

There was no point in exploring the 8th floor any further. Sungyoon and his party decided to come here at a later date. They headed towards their main hunting ground on the 7th floor.

* * *

“What the hell! Why the hell aren’t they handling this problem!”

Tim shouted, slamming the beer can on the table. The content of the can splashed to the side a little bit, and Emily, who had been sitting next to him, became horrified. She put some distance away from her brother, but he didn’t care.

“I was so excited since we were going to a new floor! But all I saw were the sealed sections!”

He once again picked up his beer and chugged it.

They were drinking at the store they frequented.

After they decided to abort the hunt on the 8th floor, they had, once again, visited the 7th floor. It was their usual hunting ground, so they didn’t encounter many difficulties. No, that wasn’t true. This time, Sungyoon, who had the worst defensive gear amongst the three of them, had acquired a new item. It was why they had an easier time since their sense of security went up.

However, it was only the 7th floor. They had firmed their resolve to descend into the 8th floor, and they didn’t find themselves lacking on that floor. But despite knowing this, they had to retreat. It was peculiar, but this increased their desire of wanting to go further in the labyrinth.

After barely meeting the self-imposed quota, the party exited the labyrinth, their shoulders a bit hunched. They left their baggage at their lodgings, and then, gathered at the store for a round of beer. They were drinking in the middle of the day, but they didn’t care.

“We have to be patient. All the labyrinths are showing anomalous activities. What can we do about it?”

Emily tried to console Tim. However, judging by the look on her face, it seemed that she wasn’t very happy either.

Sungyoon drank his beer as he listened to the siblings complain. Of course, he also had complaints. He needed money, Devices, and Gems. He now had the ability to increase his pace of clearing the labyrinth. However, his progress had been blocked by other factors. Moreover, they didn’t know when this problem would be resolved.

However, he had more experience in life and society than the Ross siblings. He used all the arsenal in his toolbox to calm himself. He listened to the siblings, who didn’t hesitate to express their emotions. He experienced their youthfulness in life.

‘I’ve gotten old.’

Even if his body had returned to its younger version, he still felt the passage of time heavily on his shoulders. He had the outer appearance of a young person, but he couldn’t truly live like a young man.

Tim had been pouring out all his complaints. Emily, who acted as if she was trying to stop Tim’s rant, was also discreetly adding her complaints. Finally, Emily looked towards Sungyoon. She finally realized what they had been doing, so she looked a bit embarrassed.

“Now that I think about it. How did you acquire your armor?”

Emily asked. She was clearly trying to change the subject. Although, she was interested in the answer too.

Her eyes moved to look at his Device. Tim’s eyes were also drawn to the same place as his sister.

They had worked with Sungyoon for the past 3 months, so they had known everything about his Devices and Gems. But after they reunited with him, they realized he had acquired a new armor. Moreover, that wasn’t the only change that they noticed.

The Yellow Gem was slotted in the Purple Gem slot, and the Gold Gem’s former slot had become a blackened ruin.

Sungyoon didn’t hold back as he satisfied the girl's curiosity.

“You probably know this part. When you two went down to Earth, I started exploring the Beginner’s Labyrinth by myself.”

Tim and Emily already knew this. Before they had separated, Sungyoon had told the two of them that he would keep going to the Beginner’s Labyrinth until it closed.

“That was when I entered a sealed section.”

“What?”

“What did you just say?”

The siblings became surprised.

The Beginner’s Labyrinth was a normal middle to low rank labyrinth without the clean-up. Aside from the two Blue Gems, he only possessed Purple Gems, so the normal labyrinth was really out of his league.

“How… What was the sentry doing? The sentry has to make sure the monsters don't escape the sealed section, and they have a duty to stop beginner Connectors from entering such a place!”

Normally, Emily would try to stop Tim when he got into an excitable state, and she would have to hit him to calm him down. However, this time, it was Emily that became enraged. Sungyoon was someone she was interested in, yet, he had almost died. Of course, his words shocked her.

“I got into an argument with a particular Connector, and unfortunately, he was the sentry guarding the sealed section.”

Emily’s large eyes turned round.

“He pushed you into a sealed section, because he held a grudge from the argument?”

“Yes.”

It was a ridiculous situation. A Connector had purposefully pushed a beginner Connector into the sealed section. It was basically a death sentence. How could someone push anyone to their death, just because they had an argument?

‘What kind of personality must that guy have to do such a deed?’

“S... so what happened?”

Emily quickly asked the question.

Sungyoon was uninjured and was in front of her. It must not have been something serious, but she was still worried.

Unlike the worried Emily, Tim’s face had turned red from anger. Sungyoon answered her in a very even tone.

“I almost died in the beginning, but in the end, this saved me.”

Sungyoon tapped at his Gold Gem.

Tim and Emily looked towards the Gold Gem, and a shocked expression appeared on their faces.

According to Sungyoon, he had to forcefully activate the Gold Gem. If Sungyoon was a normal beginner Connector, he wouldn’t even have the qualifications needed to activate it properly. The Gold Gem should have shattered, but here it was, undamaged in front of them.

“… it means you are capable of handling a Gold Gem.”

Of course, Tim’s voice was filled with awe. Sungyoon had activated the Gold Gem without breaking it. At the very least, this man was at a level where he could activate a Gold Gem. Moreover, his chances of getting into the Great Labyrinth had skyrocketed.

‘Didn’t Mr. Sungyoon say he was a 1st Gen?’

He was sure Sungyoon had introduced himself as a 1st Gen, and only a very few 1st Gen Connectors possessed the qualification to enter the Great Labyrinth.

‘Is he really capable of satisfying all the prerequisites needed?’

Tim felt immense respect for Sungyoon. He had been very happy when Sungyoon suggested they team up in the Great Labyrinth, but Tim had known that the chances of that happening was almost nonexistent. He had made that cold calculation.

However, this was unexpected. When all their achievements were revealed, it was Sungyoon, who was the closest to going into the Great Labyrinth.

At that moment, Tim’s thoughts were spinning. Sungyoon was a 1st Gen capable of gaining access to the Great Labyrinth. He was a very valuable ‘talent.’

“Amazing! We really might be able to enter the Great Labyrinth together.”

Emily looked happy. It was as if the good news had happened to her. Tim was disappointed by his sister. It seemed she didn’t get what Sungyoon’s words implied.

‘No. She isn’t a dummy. She is just blinded by love.’

The person she liked was amazing, and she would be able to raid the Great Labyrinth with him. These two facts had buried another important truth.

‘She’s really into him.’

Tim inwardly let out a sigh. He never expected his sister's love life to become so complicated.

While Tim was lost in his thoughts, Sungyoon continued to speak.

“Yes. It was quite fortunate in many ways. Anyway, I was able to safely exit the sealed section because I activated the Gold Gem. These new Gems were loot picked up in the process. However, my Device was damaged in the process, so I cannot use a slot. But when considering the result, it was a cheap price to pay."

As if they wanted to make their presence known, his newly acquired Gems twinkled. He looked over them once.

“Thankfully, you are fine. Also, congratulations on acquiring the new Gems.”

Emily laughed as she spoke. There was no deceit behind her words. She was congratulating him for being safe and for acquiring new Gems. Her words were genuine. However, she still had one question she wanted to ask him.

“So, what happened to the sentry who put you in danger?”

The tone of her voice remained the same. She was still careful with her words, and she was speaking in the cutest way possible.

However, Tim knew the truth. Her coy act was layered on the surface like a steel plate, but an uncontrollable rage burned several thousand meters below this steel plate. 

‘It is to be expected. That man tried to kill someone she likes.’

Moreover, Tim felt the same emotion as her. If that Connector was in front of him, he wouldn’t have hesitated to swing his ax.

“He was arrested. He has been locked up in an undisclosed location on Earth. My company’s president is gnashing her teeth in anger, so he’s probably in a world of hurt right now.”

“I’m glad to hear that. If it is an option, he should get the death penalty.”

“That’s right. He doesn’t deserve to live.”

For a rare moment, Tim and Emily felt the same emotion. They were restless as they let out their killing intent. If Nicholas were to appear in front of them right now, they would have flayed his skin and flesh off his bones.

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