The gathering lasted a little bit longer, and they talked about the Personal Labyrinths they’ll be assigned. They talked about their hopes and fears. However, they did not talk about the people that had stabbed Jimin in the back. In the first place, Jimin didn’t like talking about them, and Chelsea kept her mouth shut. It seemed Chelsea had decided it wasn’t something she can talk about in front of the Ross siblings. They were strangers. The Ross siblings were also quick to pick up on this fact, so they didn’t ask any further questions.
After a satisfying meal, they exited the restaurant. Woosang and his party were dining a bit away from them. Instead of saying goodbye, Jimin’s party just nodded when they caught Woosang’s eyes.
Tim and Emily parted company with Jimin’s party in front of the restaurant. Shinhae had eaten until she was full, and she was sleepy now. She kept nodding off. She had ridden a spaceship in the morning, and after that, she had been on the move for the whole day. Of course, the day's events were very tiring for a child. Sungyoon took the little girl into his arms. It took only a couple of seconds. Shinhae buried her head into her father's chest, and she fell asleep.
Jimin, Sungyoon, and Chelsea had been walking silently when Jimin suddenly spoke up.
“He was the one pointed out by Chelsea earlier. He was my company’s first Connector.”
Sungyoon thought about the person from earlier. He wasn’t that tall. His cheeks were gaunt, and his eyes sharp. Aside from those features, he looked like a normal person.
“He was the first trash.”
When Jimin had spoken, her voice was calm. But unlike her, Chelsea’s voice was fiery with anger. However, Jimin didn’t deny her friend's words, so Jimin probably had the same opinion as Chelsea.
Chelsea was full of anger. She kept talking in a harsh tone.
“At that time, Jimin had poured an insane amount of money into that guy. She is investing a lot of money into you right now, but in comparison to the past, it is like comparing the light from a candle to the sun. She used all her personal connections and money to buy him Devices and Gems. In order to check how much he had leveled up, she would buy a Gem that was a rank higher than what he could use every month. She would let him forcefully activate those Gems. At the time, I thought Jimin had lost her mind.”
When a Gem was forcefully activated, it would break if the Connector’s level didn’t match up with the Gem. It was true that this method would be the most accurate way of measuring the level of a Connector. Of course, it was beyond expensive, and it was an extremely wasteful method.
It seemed Jimin agreed with Chelsea’s opinion that she had overdone it in the past. Her complexion turned a bit cloudy as she tried to come up with an excuse.
“It was not too long after my father had died, so I wasn’t in a good state of mind. Also, I had no experience.”
“Still, you were too much. You gave him an incredible amount of money to him as a bonus. In truth, you gave him more money compared to how much moonstones he brought back to the company.”
Chelsea turned to look at Sungyoon.
“At least, this is the first time she is running her company like a business. You are the first to be treated in a professional manner, Mr. Sungyoon. She didn’t treat the two before you like they were Connectors contracted under her company. It was confusing. In some ways, she acted as if she was their sugar mama.”
“I’m really sorry. I used up most of my money and personal favors during that time. That is why I’m unable to go above and beyond to support you.”
Her voice was scarcely audible, and it seemed she felt really guilty towards Sungyoon about this.
“It’s fine. I’m receiving enough support. If you don't mind me asking, why did he quit if he was treated so well?”
If one considered what he was receiving, he should have been doing his utmost to avoid being fired.
“Jimin’s company is very small, and he wanted a contract with a big company. Also, Jimin reared him with the utmost care. This was why he might have been under the delusion that he was someone with incredible ability. He thought he would be able to flourish more if he contracted with a larger company. He didn’t know his place.”
Sungyoon could understand why Chelsea felt disgusted by what had happened. He could also understand why she and Jimin’s family hated the idea of Jimin continuing her business. She had poured her heart and soul into a venture that they considered to be a dead-end. And as if to add insult to injury, Jimin continued to spend her money in a crazy way. Of course, tempers would flare.
“However, he was talented.”
Jimin mumbled in a low voice. Chelsea snorted. But she didn’t speak out against Jimin, so it seemed the man named Kim Soobin did have some capability.
“He was talented?”
It aroused his curiosity.
“She broke a Gem each month to confirm his rank. As a result, she learned that he was able to activate a Green rank Gem. He had awakened as a Connector eight months prior to that.”
Chelsea spoke. However, Sungyoon was having trouble understanding something.
“The fact that he was able to rise to Green rank after eight months is amazing?”
What the hell was he talking about? Jimin and Chelsea turned towards Sungyoon at the same time. They wanted to scold this man, who seemed to lack common sense. However, they had to swallow their words when they saw his face.
He was holding his daughter, who was soundly asleep. He was the real monster, who had activated a Gold rank Gem in less than a year.
“It is very surprising to see a 1st Gen being able to handle a Green rank Gem in just eight months. It is surprising to see any 1st Gen capable of handling a Green Gem, at all. You shouldn’t compare others to someone like yourself.”
Chelsea spoke as if she had somewhat thrown in the towel already. Her field of study was the true nature of the Moon and the labyrinths. She conducted a geological study. If she were more interested in biology, she wouldn’t have let this surprising development stand. She would have probably gone nuts trying to dissect Sungyoon’s Connector body.
However, Sungyoon just glossed over it. He just took it at face value. He didn’t recognize his own excellence, or maybe, he didn’t want to acknowledge his own excellence. His attitude irritated Jimin and Chelsea to no end.
“Hmmph! Still, he got what he deserved. His amazing ability didn’t amount to much. That bastard left Jimin’s company a couple of years ago, yet, he just graduated from the Beginner’s Labyrinth.”
Chelsea once again turned the topic towards Soobin.
“It is strange. When you consider his ability, he should have been assigned a Personal Labyrinth a while ago.”
In truth, Jimin knew Soobin was a success as a 1st Gen since he had successfully received a Personal Labyrinth. In comparison to other Connectors, he would, on average, eat well and live better than the other Connectors.
“Oh? You don’t know about it? You should have asked your brothers.”
“I made it known that I didn’t want to hear about that man. That is why they didn’t bring up any information in regard to him.”
“I guess that makes sense. They probably didn’t want to talk about him to you either.”
Chelsea let out a laugh full of delight.
“Still, he really is your brother. Did you see him take shots on the sly? Soobin had a sour expression on his face. It serves him right.”
“He didn’t need to do that.”
Unlike how she spoke, a small smile appeared on Jimin’s lips. Maybe, she was thankful for her brother, who had gone out of his way to look out for her. She might be feeling really good about seeing Soobin humiliated. Or, maybe it might be both. It was something only Jimin knew for sure.
“Your brother probably hates the guy, but he has to take him around for work. He probably wanted to take some of his anger out on that man.”
Chelsea spoke. It might be a childish tactic, but this type of pettiness was effective in unpacking one’s emotional baggage. Woosang couldn’t openly work against Soobin as they were affiliated with the same company. This was why his annoyance at Soobin had grown a lot.
They expressed it in different ways, and they didn’t express this sentiment often. However, Woosang and Woosung really loved their sister.
“Let’s stop talking about him. I won’t be seeing him anymore.”
Just thinking about his face put her in a foul mood. Chelsea was frank as she agreed with Jimin.
“Yes. Let’s stop. It isn’t as if losing him was that much of a loss. You acquired a true talent thanks to his actions.”
Chelsea tapped at Sungyoon’s arm.
“You are right. I was really fortunate.”
Jimin agreed with Chelsea. However, her voice shook a little from the uncertainty she felt.
* * *
On that day, he didn’t sleep in the ‘Chicken Coop’. He was able to sleep in a good room as Jimin had rented a high-end room for him. It had been a while, but he was able to sleep in a good bed with Shinhae in his arms.
The three of them returned to Earth the next day. It didn’t matter for Sungyoon, but a massive amount of money had been drained, and the expenses would be bigger the longer Jimin and Shinhae stayed in Armstrong. Since her business there was done, Jimin wanted to leave as soon as possible. She had wanted Shinhae to have a fantastic experience of viewing Earth from the Moon, and she had accomplished that. The three of them got into the spaceship. Since the Mana Stream had again started within the Beginner’s Labyrinth, Sungyoon no longer needed to stay on the Moon. He looked back towards the Beginner’s Labyrinth as a gesture of thanks. It had given him a lot in terms of experience.
He received a call three days after he had arrived on Earth. He had been assigned a Personal Labyrinth.
“Where is it?”
Sungyoon gave a short greeting when he entered the office and asked about the labyrinth as soon as possible. His actions might be construed as being rude, but Jimin just gave a simple answer.
“It’s over here.”
There was a large paper spread atop her desk.
It was a map. But unlike a normal map, the topography wasn’t drawn using green, brown, and blue lines. He could only see one color. It was gray.
It was the map of the Moon. One could see ugly pock-marks all over the map.
“This is Armstrong.”
Jimin placed her finger on a particular location on the map. There was a small circle drawn there, and a line extended out to connect it to the word Armstrong.
“Also, this is where Mr. Sungyoon’s labyrinth is located.”
Her pale finger moved across the map. Her finger stopped a bit away from Armstrong. On the map, she had moved only a few finger’s breadths, yet in reality, it was a significant amount of distance.
“It takes 8 days to reach there by vehicle. If you drive through the night, you can get there in 5 days.”
For a Connector, not sleeping for 5 days wasn't hard.
“The Mana Stream starts every 5 months, and it lasts two weeks. The next Mana Stream is in a month.”
It was an ambiguous point in time. Even if he immediately went up, he would have to exit the labyrinth after a short time. Still, it felt like he would be wasting his time if he waited a month and two weeks.
“I’ll go up immediately.”
Sungyoon made a decision.
“Are you sure? You can rest for a month before you go up. You just finished clearing the Beginner’s Labyrinth. It is fine if you don’t go right now.”
“No! This might be better for me. If I go right now, I’ll have at least 2 to 3 weeks before the Mana Stream hits. I’ll consider this time a trial and error period. It’ll be needed since the Personal Labyrinth will be very different from the Beginner’s Labyrinth.”
If she had it her way, she would have let him rest for a month with Shinhae. However, he had made up his mind, and Jimin wouldn’t get in his way. Of course, Sungyoon also desired to be with his daughter, but he still wanted to do his best in fulfilling his contract of reaching the Great Labyrinth.
“What is the labyrinth’s title?”
The navigation within the Moon Surface Vehicle held all the locations of the labyrinths on the Moon. The system would be continuously updated as more labyrinths would be found. It wasn’t wrong to call the Moon an endless desert, and the navigation was essential in finding one’s destination on the Moon. If one wanted to find a specific destination, one needed to know the title of the destination.
“It is called H-023.”
The name was very impersonal. However, there were too many labyrinths to name each one with a nickname. It was very difficult to come up with an original name. This was why an index was made. It was most convenient to put numbers next to a letter.
Also, Sungyoon wasn’t interested in giving his labyrinth some cute name.
He knew the designation of the labyrinth, and he knew when the Mana Stream would hit.
“I’ll leave tomorrow.”
Sungyoon stared at the map of the Moon, where the location of his labyrinth was marked.
On the next day, Sungyoon left for the Moon once again.
This was his 4th trip to Armstrong. It had been around 8 months since he started raiding the labyrinth. But this time, he wasn’t heading towards the Beginner’s Labyrinth in Armstrong. He was heading towards his Personal Labyrinth.
He wasn’t setting records, but he had reached the Personal Labyrinth much faster than other Connectors.Previous Chapter Next Chapter