One hour before Christopher McLaren contacted Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“The atmosphere around here is quite brittle.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Well, the situation being what it is, it can’t be helped, sir.” (adjutant)
The situation being what it was?
Was that something any one of them should say?
“Then, why didn’t you defend this place properly? It’s not as if we’re here to close the stable doors after the horse has bolted already….” (Christopher McLaren)
“It was beyond our control, sir.” (adjutant)
“Beyond control, is it….” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren ended up smirking to himself.
By referring to this situation of the POTUS being held hostage by an unknown enemy assailant in the middle of White House ‘beyond our control’, what did that make the American armed forces?
‘It’s the same story for us, too.’ (Christopher McLaren)
It was Christopher McLaren’s job to prevent events like this from happening. However, all he did was to receive some reports in his office and failed to prevent this situation from unfolding in the first place.
And that was the source of his current irritation.
The system and military might humanity had created were currently crumbling away under the weight of brand-new concepts.
All in a moment, no less.
The world became a lot less certain after ability users began appearing, and those who failed to respond in time were getting excluded from the natural selection.
‘It’s the same story for me, then.’ (Christopher McLaren)
The fact that an event like this happened was the proof that even he was being left behind by the world. A situation that would never have happened if it was still the era of the Cold War was currently unfolding right here.
“Are humans this powerless in front of ability users?” (Christopher McLaren)
“….Ability users are also humans, sir.” (adjutant)
“Right, that’s true.” (Christopher McLaren)
Unfortunately, the thing inside the White House couldn’t be an actual human, no?
Christopher McLaren watched the feed from the White House’s CCTV system and confirmed that fact.
A lone female was striding brazenly into the building. However, not one person looking at her tried to stop her. No, they simply smiled at her, as if her entering there was the most obvious thing in the whole world.
“Is it a mind-related ability?” (Christopher McLaren)
Although rare, some ability users were found to possess such powers. Sadly, though, there were none that could seduce that many people all at once.
The lone female in the CCTV footage entered the President’s office. She then basically pulled him off his chair and nonchalantly settled down on it, instead, before raising her legs on top of the Presidential desk.
Her actions were natural and smooth.
“The feed stops there, sir.” (adjutant)
“I see.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren pulled out a cigar and bit onto it. However, the sweet chocolate-like scent coming from its tip made him feel irritated right now, instead.
He leisurely lit the cigar up and a little while later, breathed out a long trail of smoke.
“Okay, so. What should we do next?” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren appeared to be way too relaxed and that prompted the adjutant to cautiously open his lips.
“Shouldn’t we hurry up with the operation, sir?” (adjutant)
“What operation?” (Christopher McLaren)
“To rescue the President.” (adjutant)
“Oh, right. We should.” (Christopher McLaren)
Quite different from what he said, though, Christopher McLaren didn’t seem to be in any hurry to do anything.
“I know.” (Christopher McLaren)
“But, why?” (adjutant)
Christopher McLaren angrily threw the cigar away.
“Tell me, then! What do you think we should do? You have any concrete plan to fix this situation??” (Christopher McLaren)
“….No, sir. I don’t.” (adjutant)
“Even if we send in someone, the President is already in the firing line. If we do manage to kill the assailant, we’ll still lose if the king is lost alongside, too!” (Christopher McLaren)
“That’s true, sir.” (adjutant)
“That means, we need to try and converse with the subject by creating the right conditions, but it doesn’t look like she can be reasoned with. If I waltz in there and get seduced by her, then there will be no turning back for sure.” (Christopher McLaren)
“I haven’t thought that far ahead, sir.” (adjutant)
“God d*mn it.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren slapped his thigh.
No one had thought about an event like this taking place beforehand, so there was no procedure to follow, either. He had to improvise on the fly, but that wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
“What will you do then, sir?” (adjutant)
Christopher McLaren didn’t answer.
The big problem with the United States was that, he was the only one who could step forward in a situation like this one, and also, he was the only one who could take charge at the same time.
He realised that alarming fact one more time.
“For now, we wait. What are the others doing?” (Christopher McLaren)
“The Pentagon or the CIA haven’t been able to do anything as well, sir.” (adjutant)
“Warn them right away. If they try to snipe that woman like a bunch of amateurs, I’ll personally blow their heads away with that very rifle.” (Christopher McLaren)
“….Yes, sir.” (adjutant)
Christopher McLaren looked down at the cigar, currently crushed against the concrete floor, and spat out a sigh.
‘God d*mn it, maybe I should’ve taken one more puff.’ (Christopher McLaren)
He regretted his actions, but there was nothing he could do now.
“Okay, what did that woman want, again?” (Christopher McLaren)
“She wants Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk found.” (adjutant)
“Was she told that he’s in South Korea?” (Christopher McLaren)
“Yes, sir. However, it seems that there was a breakdown in communication somewhere. The contact was lost afterwards.” (adjutant)
Christopher McLaren flared up in irritation briefly, before sucking in deep, deep breaths.
“I’m going in.” (Christopher McLaren)
“But, Director! Will it be alright?” (adjutant)
“You have an alternative, then?” (Christopher McLaren)
“We’ve already lost. The moment the President was taken hostage, we’ve lost this fight already. In that case, we’ve got to take care of the aftermath quickly. Well, after I enter there and all contact is lost again, blow up the White House. Got that?” (Christopher McLaren)
“B-but, what about the President, sir?!” (adjutant)
“This isn’t the time to worry about the President, okay? You can always replace the figurehead like that at any time.” (Christopher McLaren)
“But, sir, there’s no one to replace you. Let me go in, instead.” (adjutant)
“If I fail to resolve this situation, then forget someone to replace, I’m just going to quit on my own. I’ve been wanting to retire so badly anyway, so maybe I should clap my hands in happiness, instead.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren swore under his breath before continuing on.
“I begged for a discharge but they didn’t want me to. They say why not a dishonourable discharge, then? Well, if I get killed here, I’m sure they might posthumously raise my rank.” (Christopher McLaren)
“But, is there any higher rank you can get to, sir?” (adjutant)
“There is, when you look at the military ranks.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren shared lighthearted but meaningless banter with his adjutant to calm his mind, and then ordered the younger man.
“I’ll say this again. Tell them not to do anything stupid. I’ll f*cking chew their heads out if they do.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Understood, sir.” (adjutant)
Christopher McLaren sucked in another deep breath and walked into the White House.
“Get out of the way!” (Christopher McLaren)
The commanders recognised his face and quickly created a path for him between the soldiers. Before going any further, though, he looked back and shouted out.
“Ah, and by the way!” (Christopher McLaren)
“Yes, sir!” (adjutant)
“We don’t know what might happen, so call the Koreans and ask them to send Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk over.” (Christopher McLaren)
“….But, will he even come, sir?” (adjutant)
“We’re grasping at straws! Straws!!” (Christopher McLaren)
“Sir, yes sir. I’ll try.” (adjutant)
“God d*mn it.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat caking his forehead.
“If I manage to survive this, I swear I’ll retire even if it kills me.” (Christopher McLaren)
It was eerily quiet inside the building.
Sure, there always had been a small number of people working here in this huge structure so it was usually quiet most of the time, but the White House felt especially eerie and cold today.
‘I can’t even hear anyone’s voice, either.’ (Christopher McLaren)
Only the echoes of Christopher McLaren’s shoes hitting the ground rang unpleasantly throughout the corridor.
He did his best to suppress the urge to cover his ears and walked towards the President’s office.
The moment their boss was taken hostage, everyone inside the White House had been evacuated. Which meant that only the President, the unidentified female hostage taker, and himself were the only three in this huge building.
How should he respond to this?
What were his options?
Many thoughts flitted in and out of his head. But, he couldn’t think up of one good idea.
But, that couldn’t be helped, because…
….He didn’t have any information on that mysterious female. He’d only be able to come up with a suitable response if he knew what she was like, so what could he possibly do here when he knew basically nothing?
He couldn’t help but feel like a soldier without a gun in the middle of a warzone.
The door leading to the Oval Office seemed to be weighing down all over his body.
Taking in one more quiet but deep breath, he slowly pushed the door open.
The friction noise from the aged door made him frown just a little bit.
Someone should’ve maintained it, what an instant mood killer that was.
Once he stepped inside, though, he was greeted by a somewhat unexpected sight.
Somehow, the President found himself back on his original chair, while the mysterious female was lounging around on top of the large couch situated next to the Presidential desk.
Christopher McLaren didn’t pay any attention to the President and shifted his gaze over to that female.
There was the soft sound of breathing coming from her.
The moment he heard that, Christopher McLaren felt his heart begin pounding away.
‘It’s magical charm. Definitely.’ (Christopher McLaren)
His old, decrepit heart was racing intensely as if he had seen a cannon shell flying in his direction.
Surely, his wife would throw a hissy fit if she learned of this?
Christopher McLaren thought about something pretty inconsequential and dumb while focusing on the female.
She slowly shifted her gaze and stared at him.
“Ah…..” (Christopher McLaren)
His thought of never wavering no matter what remained just that, a thought. When he looked at her eyes, he knew it right away.
If she decided to make him, then he’d end up as her slave, just like that.
It felt as if her eyes were sucking him in.
When he looked into those slightly unfocused eyes – as if she wasn’t interested in him at all – he was nearly overcome with an urge to rip out his heart and offer it to her if that’s what she desired.
“Who are you?” (?)
She then asked him in an innocent manner.
“Hah….” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren released his deeply-held breaths.
Now he understood why the President over there was still sitting on his chair even though he was not under any threat of physical harm.
She must’ve told him to ‘Sit still over there’.
That would be more than enough. If you were a man, you’d not be able to escape from this female’s devilishly seductive charm at all.
How can a woman be this beautiful and different?
He knew oh-so well that she was not a human being, that they didn’t have any friendly relationship whatsoever, yet he just couldn’t tear his gaze away from this woman.
While walking in, he guessed that she must’ve been a demon or an existence similar to that, but still, why was this being right before him seemed to be so lovely to his eyes?
“I’m C-Christopher. I’ve come to bargain with you.”
She tilted her head.
“Euh…..” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren gasped without even realising it.
It felt as if her appearance was changing with every passing second.
In one minute, she’d be oozing with seductive charm that sucked you right in, but right next second, her expression would change and an explosive amount of detestation would replace that.
And right now, the slight tilting of her head was eliciting a protective instinct strong enough to make him throw away his life if asked.
‘She’s a wicked beast.’ (Christopher McLaren)
Only now could he understand the old adage of a country falling because of a single woman.
“Yes, a negotiation.” (Christopher McLaren)
Just trying to say one word took all of his efforts. It was incredibly hard. Unfortunately, he had to do it.
“What do you mean, negotiation?” (?)
She tilted her head again.
“How strange. I already know what I want, so why?” (?)
“What you want?” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren did hear it before, but he still needed to figure out what she meant by her demand first.
“Is finding Yi Ji-Hyuk what you want?” (Christopher McLaren)
A slight grin crept up on her face as she licked her lips. A tongue so red that it went beyond crimson slowly, agonisingly slowly moistened them.
‘One wrong move, and I might be KIA’ed by heart attack.’ (Christopher McLaren)
That was how much he was being sucked in by her looks.
“That’s right. Bring him to me. That is the only thing I want.” (?)
< 254. Find Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk -4 > Fin.