Chapter 78

Sungyoon walked towards his lodging alone. He had drunk alcohol, but he wasn’t intoxicated at all. A couple of beer cans had no effect on him. Connectors had a hearty constitution. At that moment, he wondered why he even drank alcohol.

‘As expected, the prices on the Moon are too high.’

Sungyoon thought about his wallet, which had gotten lighter. The store where his party gathered was considered to be inexpensive when compared to the other stores on the Moon. But still, it was a shop on the Moon. His wallet had suffered greatly. That was a certainty.

He had been happy because he had made 100,000 dollars in just three months. However, with that amount of money, he wouldn’t be able to live a decent life on the Moon, even for a month. 

He looked at the nearby stores, glancing at the items lined up across the display window. Their prices were all mind-boggling.

‘As expected, I have to be frugal with my money.’

He had never planned on spending much money on the Moon. On Earth, he could live a bit in luxury since it wouldn’t damage his checking account too much. But on the Moon, it was a completely different story. If he were reckless with his spending, it wouldn't just damage his checking account. It would kill it. Above all else, he wanted to spend all his money on Shinhae after he paid off his debt. He had no desire to waste his money.

He had a drinking party with the Ross siblings only because they were his party members. He considered it a basic bonding experience. As someone who had run a company before, he had to wine and dine business partners previously. He was doing something similar here. He wouldn’t drink alcohol on the Moon if it were not for that reason.

As he once again reflected on the crazy prices on the Moon, he arrived at his lodging.

“Ah!”

Someone was waiting for him in front of his lodging. It was a woman wearing a shabby lab-coat and out-of-fashion glasses. However, her beauty didn’t lose its light from what she had worn.

“It’s been a while, Mr. Sungyoon.”

Chelsea spoke.

* * *

Chelsea left her room with a paper bag in her arms. She had done this for the past couple of days. Usually, she would be cooped up in her lab, and she would use any spare time to sleep there. It was very surprising to see Chelsea out and about.

The paper bag in her arms contained food. The bag was straining to keep all the food inside. It seemed it held more than the usual potatoes and sausages.

She greeted every fellow researcher she occasionally passed by, as she headed towards the exit.

“Uh? You are going out again, Strobe?”

A fellow researcher whom she was close with asked the question when she spotted Chelsea.

“Yes. I have something to do.”

“Usually, around this time, you are in your lab. You sure are going out a lot these days. Is it a man? Are you dating someone?”

A middle-aged woman with a sly look on her face appeared next to Chelsea. She nudged Chelsea with her elbow. As an extra, she raised her pinky finger and wriggled it. Chelsea couldn’t hold back her laughter when faced with the woman’s playful attitude.

“I am going to meet a man, but I don't have that kind of a relationship with him. I hope there is no misunderstanding.”

Her fellow researcher drew back from Chelsea. An exaggerated expression of shock appeared on her face.

“My word! Strobe has a man! You were an impregnable fortress that rebuffed any approach from all men! That Chelsea Strobe has a man now!”

She flapped her two arms as she squawked out her words. She approached Chelsea once again and checked the contents of the bag.

“Are you taking those to that man?”

Chelsea looked baffled by her colleague’s antics, but this shameless woman just blinked and ignored her. In the end, Chelsea had to give up. She nodded.

“Yes!”

“Didn’t you take out the same amount of food yesterday?”

“I did.”

Chelsea had been unable to deliver it. The man in question had been gone for several days, ever since he was clearing the Beginner’s Labyrinth.

“… my god! I never expected Chelsea Strobe would voluntarily give up this much food. You are doing this every day.”

Her colleague didn’t exaggerate anything. There was pure unadulterated shock on her face.

It was too expensive on the Moon to go out and enjoy oneself. Of course, this was why the daily rationed food was one of the biggest joys for researchers. This was also true for Chelsea. It wasn’t as if she was taking food that didn’t taste good. On a daily basis, she was basically taking food items that were considered to be the main menu foods for a man.

“Are you sure he isn’t your boyfriend?”

It was understandable as to why her colleague was asking such a question.

All the researchers, who had been walking by them, stopped in place. They stared at the two of them. Several male researchers looked as if they couldn’t believe what they had just heard.

Chelsea Strobe was quite famous inside this lab facility. She was enough of a genius to be assigned to the Moon’s lab facility at a very young age. At the same time, she had radiant good looks. If she was dropped in Hollywood, there would be people trying to sign her up for a lead role. She was famous for being a mascot for the researchers. She was their sweetheart.

Everyone thought that she didn’t have a boyfriend, yet, she just revealed she might have one.

“He isn’t!”

Chelsea gave a strong denial. However, suspicion still lingered in her colleague’s eyes.

“What are you talking about? I don’t have time for this. Get out of my way.”

If she stayed any longer, she had no idea what they might say. Chelsea quickly pushed her colleague aside and exited the research facility.

‘He’s not my boyfriend.’

Chelsea inwardly grumbled at the words spoken by her colleague. She was single because she had been focused on her studies and research. It felt like her colleague was making fun of her life choices. There was anger in her footsteps.

After walking for a while, she arrived at her destination.

It was the Support Center for Korea’s beginner Connectors.

She opened the familiar door and approached the receptionist.

The receptionist raised her head. When she saw Chelsea, her expression changed, as if she had been put in an awkward spot.

‘He hasn’t come back yet.’

Chelsea had visited this place every day for the past couple of days. When she saw the receptionist’s expression, she could tell what the answer to her question would be. Still, she had to ask the question.

“Hello. Is Mr. Sungyoon in?”

The receptionist looked more uncomfortable than before.

“No. He hasn’t come back yet.”

There were numerous beginner Connectors residing within the Support Center. The receptionist didn’t remember every one of them. However, Chelsea had been coming here for the past couple of days on a daily basis, and every time, she asked about Sungyoon. This was why the receptionist knew about Sungyoon a little bit now. It was inevitable.

“Alright. I’ll wait a little bit.”

As she spoke those words, she exited the building. It seemed that she planned on waiting nearby.

A man was receiving such interest from a beautiful woman like her. She was so beautiful that even the receptionist was jealous of her as a woman. The receptionist wondered who this Sungyoon was. She wondered what kind of a man could receive interest from such a woman.

Chelsea’s eyes were unfocused as she leaned against the wall of the Support Center. She had done this for the past couple of days. She still wasn’t used to the boredom that quickly came to her as she waited.

She chased away men who occasionally hit on her. However, she wasn’t too dismissive when turning them down. She had been burned too badly in the past against Nicholas.

Still, she couldn’t continue to wait here. It happened when she was about to give up on meeting Sungyoon for the day.

She caught sight of someone trudging along the street. 

He was the same as ever, looking shabby, a gloomy atmosphere surrounding him. It lessened the effect of his handsome face. However, if one looked closely, one could spot a handsome man weighed down by a heavy past.

“It has been a while, Mr. Sungyoon.”

She had wasted her past couple of days, but she was finally able to meet him. Chelsea greeted him as she stepped towards the man.

She heard groans from nearby. People couldn’t believe that a beautiful woman like Chelsea had been waiting for such an outwardly unattractive man. However, Chelsea didn’t pay attention to them. Sungyoon also didn’t care about outside opinions, so he ignored them too.

“Hello, Ms. Chelsea.”

“I knew it was about time for you to come to the Moon.”

Chelsea shook the paper bag. Sungyoon's nose smelled something very delicious. He had just eaten food, but it wasn’t as if he had eaten until he was full. He was only a beginner Connector, so the purchase of a couple of beers and side dishes put his wallet in a dangerous territory.

The two of them headed towards their regular meeting place, the park. They sat next to each other on the same bench. Sungyoon took the paper bag offered by Chelsea.

‘It is heavy.’

It had looked large on the outside, but he realized it was quite heavy too. It seemed that it wasn’t just potatoes and sausages like before.

He opened the bag.

There were the potatoes and sausages she always brought. However, there was also half of a well-done steak, a salad in a small container, half an apple, bread, and cheese.

Sungyoon looked at Chelsea with surprise in his eyes. The food within this bag would cost several hundred to several thousand dollars on the Moon. It was too expensive for him to receive it as a simple gift.

“What is all this?”

“What do you mean? It is your provision.”

Chelsea purposefully spoke as if nothing was wrong. However, the amount of provision given wasn’t something he could just accept.

“I can’t take this. This is too much.”

Sungyoon once again pushed the paper bag towards Chelsea, but she didn’t take it back.

She was searching for the right words to say. She bit her lips as she took a moment to breathe in an even manner.

When he saw this, he took the bag back into his possession. At the very least, she wasn’t going to take back the food right now.

“I heard about that guy Nicholas.”

Nicholas. Sungyoon really didn’t like hearing that name.

“I heard he caused you harm?”

‘Is that why she’s doing this?’

Sungyoon looked at Chelsea, whose head was lowered. Her fine hair completely hid her face.

“It seems that you are under a misunderstanding. It isn’t your fault, Ms. Chelsea.”

Some psychotic asshole picked a fight with her for some asinine reason. He held a grudge from the disagreement, and his idiotic actions ruined his own life. For Sungyoon, that was all there was to it in regard to that incident.

However, Chelsea couldn’t let it go there. The ill-fated relationship with Nicholas started with her in the first place. Somehow, the grudge against her was directed towards Sungyoon, and he had almost died. She couldn’t shake these thoughts.

Normally, she looked like a woman with an easy-going and cheerful personality. However, she had a tendency to think things too deeply. In her heart, this incident had given rise to a sense of guilt towards Sungyoon. 

“However, thanks to me, you were unnecessarily harmed. That’s the truth.”

Everything was a mess. In these types of situations, the more kindness and innocence one possessed, the more guilt one felt. Chelsea fulfilled these two prerequisites in abundance.

Sungyoon looked inside the paper bag in his arms. The bag was still filled with scrumptious food.

‘Should I view this as an apology?’

She probably thought that it wasn’t enough. It looked like she had gathered as many things as she could get her hands on.

Sungyoon picked up the bread with a hole in the middle. It was a bagel. He took a big bite out of it. A nutty taste filled his mouth, and without realizing it, he took another bite.

Of course, Sungyoon never had a decent meal since he had come up to the Moon. The only things he had eaten were water and vitamin packs. He had drunk beer and ate some snacks earlier. However, it wasn’t a proper meal.

He ate the bagel in no time, and he also silently ate the other food. The sausage and steak were cold. He couldn’t lie. The salad was not fresh at all. However, he would be greedy if he expected more than this. The last remaining food was the apple. He stood up after he finished it.

Chelsea had said nothing as Sungyoon ate the food. She raised her head. Sungyoon gestured to her to stay there, and then, he headed towards the store where he had bought coffee last time.

He bought the same two cups of coffee, and just like last time, he had burned an enormous amount of cash.

He had promised himself not too long ago that he would be frugal, but he had to once again spend a lot of money. He sighed as he headed towards where Chelsea sat.

“Here.”

He gave her a cup of steaming-hot coffee.

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