Chapter 98

Sungyoon parked the Moon Surface Vehicle. He opened the door and stepped onto the surface of the Moon. The dust covered the sky behind him. He hurried away from the cloud of dust, moving towards the entrance of the labyrinth.

The labyrinth was the same. The ominous maw looked like it was daring him to come in, as if it was mocking him.

His body tensed as he checked his Devices and Gems. Lastly, he looked at the special ability Gem slotted in the Universal Slot. A Yellow rank Gem was glittering there.

Sungyoon hadn't equipped the Gold Gem, which could potentially save his life. He had decided to equip the Yellow rank Gem, which had the capability to upgrade the rank of other Gems. Sungyoon wanted to evolve his Purple rank spear and the Purple rank strength-enhancing Gem.

One by one, he inspected his Devices, and then, his eyes landed on his wristwatch. Amid the tension enveloping his body, his eyes noticeably softened when he looked at his watch. This watch was different from the one he normally wore and looked to be a quality item. It was the present given to him by Shinhae.

He placed his hand on the watch. Although he felt the cold metallic sensation, he could also feel the warmth of his daughter coming from the watch.

‘Ah! I should wear the other one.’

There was a chance the watch might get destroyed during a battle. He really hated the idea of not wearing Shinhae’s present on his hand, but he decided to store it in his Moon Surface Vehicle. He put on his normal watch.

He was done making preparations.

‘Shall I go?’

After he activated his Gems, he entered into the labyrinth. The previous time, he had encountered a Bigfoot at the entrance of the labyrinth and had almost died. This was why he was careful as he advanced forward. Fortunately, he didn’t encounter any strong monsters. It seemed that he had made the right choice in entering the labyrinth only after some time had passed since the end of Mana Stream.

Not too long ago, he had pretty much exterminated all the monsters near the entrance. Yet, the labyrinth was now swarming with monsters. He couldn’t take a couple of steps without getting into a fight.

As always, the first monster to greet him was the Mad Dog. It was stronger than the Mad Dog in the Beginner’s Labyrinth, but at the end of the day, it was only a Mad Dog.

Kwah-jeek!

Sungyoon swung his mace and crushed the monster's bones.

Ooh-oong!

When the Mad Dog died, Sungyoon felt a faint vibration. His gaze moved towards the source. It was the Device equipped with the Yellow Gem. There were two Gems slotted alongside the Yellow Gem, and these two Gems had been surrounded by yellow light. The light disappeared in short order. However, Sungyoon could guess what had happened. The two Gems, which had been surrounded by the Yellow light, had started to evolve.

As he entered deeper into the labyrinth, the man hoped he hadn’t made a mistake in slotting the Yellow Gem instead of the Gold Gem.

This labyrinth was higher in rank than the Beginner’s Labyrinth, but it was only on the 1st floor. The 1st-floor monsters were no match for him. Sungyoon effectively killed all those that charged towards him. He made good time as he progressed forward.

Soon, he reached a divergent path. It was one of the problems that troubled the Connectors in a Personal Labyrinth. When Sungyoon had come here for the first time, the divergent paths had inconvenienced him a lot. But this time, he was prepared.

He took out a pen and a paper from his pack and started drawing the path he took. Even if he was being generous, his drawing was below average. The map was beyond crude, but it would do for now. He would gather all his drawings to make a proper map in the future.

That wasn’t all he had intended to do. He took out an arrow made from strong cloth and stuck it on the wall of the labyrinth. The sticky adhesive on the back of the arrow would fix it to the wall. This item was specifically made for marking purposes in a labyrinth, so the probability of it falling off was quite low. Still, he didn’t take any chances. He used a thick Sharpie and drew another arrow beneath the sign. The arrows pointed towards the exit of the labyrinth.

‘This should be enough.’

This was the annoying part about raiding a Personal Labyrinth that hadn’t been visited before. However, it was necessary work. Afterward, Sungyoon once again explored the labyrinth. He had to learn the layout of the 1st floor.

* * *

One month had passed since Sungyoon had started raiding his Personal Labyrinth in earnest. He was diligent as he hunted down the monsters infesting the labyrinth. The quality of moonstones he acquired was worse than what he would get on the lowest floor of the Beginner’s Labyrinth with Tim and Emily. On the surface, it looked like his income would fall. However, he might get a similar amount since the number of moonstones he was gathering had increased. 

Sungyoon stopped walking as a sturdy wall had blocked his path. It was a dead-end, a common occurrence in the labyrinth. The man took out his paper and pen and made a mark on the map.

‘It’s done.’

This was the last place left to draw on his map. After one month, he was able to complete the map for the 1st floor.

‘It took me a month to finish making a map of the first floor.’

He had no idea if his progress was fast or slow.

‘Still, I completed the first step.’

From that perspective, he felt really good.

Sungyoon looked at his watch. It was time to end his hunt. He turned around, leaving the dead-end. He had explored the entirety of the 1st floor and had killed all the monsters he came across. However, monsters continued to appear and attack Sungyoon. These were the ones he had probably missed or the 2nd-floor monsters had climbed up to the 1st floor. Still, it was true that the number of monsters on the 1st floor had clearly decreased.

Sungyoon killed all the monsters that attacked him, collecting the moonstones as he advanced. He came to a fork in the road. In the past, he had been cautious because he might get lost. Now he just had to follow the arrows on the wall as he moved without worry. After walking for a while, he had exited the labyrinth.

He headed towards his Moon Surface Vehicle, which was parked on the open surface of the Moon. After pouring the moonstones into the luggage compartment, he went inside.

Sungyoon sat on his bed and took out the map, which he had completed today. The map didn’t consist of one paper. Since the 1st floor was quite large, it was impossible to draw all the tunnels of the labyrinth on one paper.

He placed all the papers on the floor of the Moon Surface Vehicle and pieced together the map.

‘… what a mess!’

He wanted to let out a sigh. However, there was no air in his surroundings, so it was impossible for him to do so.

The paths winded every which way. It was as if a child had scribbled all over a piece of paper. If he were to give this map to someone else, the person might think it was a joke. The person would probably throw the map back in his face.

‘Shinhae would have drawn it better.’

Fortunately, Sungyoon could read it if he looked closely.

‘I’ll leave it to an expert next time.’

If he took it to a professional map maker, Sungyoon believed his terrible drawing could be fixed.

After he put the map away, he checked his water supply and his vitamin packs. Both showed signs of being exhausted.

‘I should start heading back to Armstrong.’

Sungyoon moved to the driver’s seat. He turned on the vehicle and stepped on the accelerator, creating a dust cloud with the movement. Taking a big U-turn, the man started driving towards Armstrong.

He would be returning to Armstrong after a month.

* * *

Korea was known for its public security and its unique drinking culture. This was why neon signs flashed in the crowded night streets. The night chased away the sunlight, yet, the artificial lights challenged the darkness. People walked through the bright lights.

Large groups laughed amongst themselves, and some people fought with strangers. Then, there were the drunk people, who couldn’t even take care of themselves. The streets were full of people with diverse expressions and actions.

Soobin was also amongst them.

Gulp! Gulp!

He was chugging the hard liquor in his hand. Before he got drunk, he would probably mess up his throat. However, he didn’t care and continued pouring the liquor into his stomach.

“Shit!”

He cussed in a low voice. Even if Connectors didn’t get easily drunk, there was still a limit. Soobin was walking like a drunk person.

It had been a month since his company had refused to extend his contract. His contract was coming to an end soon. Soobin didn’t even think about going back to the Moon. He had started searching for a new company which would contract him. Of course, he had basically stopped all communications with his current company. The company had no interest in continuing the contract, so they didn’t bother contacting him either. This fact made Soobin angrier.

He had worked hard, but no company would accept him. Initially, when they learned that he had previously been affiliated with a large company, the companies would show interest. But they pulled back when they learned that it had taken him a very long time to clear the Beginner’s Labyrinth. In some cases, companies slammed their doors in his face.

“Damn it!”

Crash!

He threw the bottle which he had been drinking from. The bottle hit the ground, and glass fragments flew into the surrounding.

“Kyahhhk!”

“Ooh-ahk!”

The nearby people screamed in surprise and turned to look at the source of the ruckus. Naturally, their eyes landed on Soobin, the perpetrator. Everyone gave him dirty looks. No one had gotten hurt, but it was really reckless of the man to throw the bottle. Everyone expressed their displeasure. However, it looked like Soobin was in a fighting mood, so no one directly confronted him.

Soobin ignored everyone’s gaze as he continued to walk.

“Those sons of bitches! They are looking down on me because I’m a 1st Gen!”

He raged once again.

In truth, it was a bit odd that he could not find a contract when there were so many companies. Even if he had reached his limit as a 1st Gen, when compared to the other normal 1st Gens, he was above average.

Of course, there was a reason behind this.

Soobin’s standards were too high.

His first president was Jimin. She had ignored profit and had given unlimited resources to the two Connectors contracted to her company. Soobin, one of them, had started his working at her abnormal company, and then, he had signed a contract with one of the preeminent corporations in the world. He could no longer be satisfied being contracted to the bottom tier companies who would hire a normal 1st Gen.

He didn’t know his own place, so he was trying to sign a contract with larger companies. Of course, things weren’t going well for him.

However, Soobin didn’t even think about the reasons behind his rejections. He was too busy badmouthing the companies.

“What do you mean - ‘We don’t hire 1st Gens.’ Hey! You sons of bitches!”

He spoke in a loud voice, making a ruckus.

“They are bastards too! I did so much for them! Who cares if I was a bit late in clearing the labyrinth! What? You no longer want to be associated with me? Those rotten bastards!”

His discontentment had been towards those companies who had turned him down. However, his complaints soon moved on to his first company. His tirade hadn’t come to an end yet.

“You are a bitch, Hahn Jimin! You finally got a good Connector, so you show him off like that! How is he that much different from me? In the end, he’s only a 1st Gen! He’ll only scrape by at the bottom of the floor! Great Labyrinth! What a joke!”

He didn’t even think about what he had done to Jimin. He just acted like the victim. He was acting like an ass no matter who saw him.

Soobin kept shouting and didn’t care if he was inconveniencing other people. However, he had drunk too much, so he had to pee. He shut his mouth and moved to a sparsely populated alley. His destination was deep into the alley so that people couldn’t see him. He opened his zipper and started to pee on the wall. When his bladder was emptied, he awkwardly pulled his zipper up. It happened at that moment.

“Mr. Kim Soobin.”

He heard a voice coming from behind him.

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