Chapter 283: Check first before stretching legs (3)

Boss-man?

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s brows quivered.

Did they really ask for a ‘boss-man’?

Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his head, which prompted Choi Jeong-Hoon to wordlessly approach him and grab hold of his arm.

“What now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Please calm down for a moment. For the time being, I think it’ll be better to let Colonel Jeong In-Soo handle this.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“H-mm.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk looked quite unhappy about this, but perhaps he too had realised that Jeong In-Soo stepping forward here was the best thing, because he didn’t try to add any unnecessary sarcasm to the conversation.

He agreed that, rather than worrying about his own moods, it was wiser to think about Jeong In-Soo’s position first.

Most of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s problems arose from his body acting first even before his brain had the chance to stop himself. But at least this time, even he couldn’t do that to Jeong In-Soo, the one guy who maintained an amicable relationship with him while asking for nothing in return.

“Those sons of b*tches….!” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo gritted his teeth and was about to walk up closer to the North Koreans.

“You mustn’t, battalion commander!” (adjutant)

“Hey, you punk! Can’t you see those as*holes trying to provoke us??” (Jeong In-Soo)

The adjutant did his best to dissuade Jeong In-Soo which only made the latter yell out in anger, but the former simply hung on to his boss’s waist and didn’t let go.

“You can’t just walk over there without a plan just because they provoked you, sir!! Who knows what those b*stards are thinking of doing to you??” (adjutant)

“They won’t go as far as killing me, so it’s fine!” (Jeong In-Soo)

“If only we can sweep those b*stards away with the pretext of your death, then I’d not have stopped you, sir. However, the war won’t break out because of your sacrifice, sir! It’ll only be a meaningless dog’s death.” (adjutant)

“Hey, you fool, you think they are insane enough to really kill me?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Sir, when did the North Koreans ever act like sane people? Sir, your ability to read people seemed to have taken a step backwards after dealing with only the Gates lately.” (adjutant)

“……..”

Jeong In-Soo shut his mouth up.

When he thought about it, his adjutant was right. How could dealing with monsters be more logical than with these people? Since monsters’ behavioural patterns were well understood by now, their actions could be predicted to a degree. On the other hand, no one could really tell what these North Korean idiots would try next.

“Looks like I was being thoughtless here.” (Jeong In-Soo)

He quickly admitted to his mistake.

“Even then, we can’t let this slide, now can we? They might think we’re scared of them or something if we stay quiet all the time.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Of course we can’t let them get away with this, sir. However, you going there personally is strictly a no-no, Colonel. We need to send someone who’s a good talker and can also find a suitable way to deal with them.” (adjutant)

“Hey, you. Where can we even find such a……” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo’s gaze stopped moving at a certain spot.

“….Why are you looking at me, Colonel?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

The person standing in that spot took a step away. Naturally, Jeong In-Soo’s eyes chased after him as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“N-no, hang on. I…..” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“We do have someone perfect, don’t we.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Hul, but sir. That’s a high-value individual.” (adjutant)

“That’s right. And a situation like this demands to be handled by a high-value individual, too.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“But, do we really need to send someone like him to speak to a bunch of uneducated North Korean bumpkins?” (adjutant)

“It’s the job of the important people to speak to especially-prickly idiots. Didn’t you know that?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Won’t it be too dangerous?” (adjutant)

“Didn’t he say something about danger pay this and that earlier? Surely, he’s not being paid that for nothing, right?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“…….”

Choi Jeong-Hoon became utterly speechless and stared at Jeong In-Soo with pleading eyes.

“I haven’t even gotten married yet!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Eiii, they aren’t going to kill you. Surely not.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“I don’t think you can joke around this matter like that.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Well, hurry up. Off you go.” (Jeong In-Soo)

Choi Jeong-Hoon vigorously fought for his sake.

“I haven’t even married yet, so who’ll be responsible if those North Korean b*stards do something to me?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Wasn’t there something like ghost marriage? You can do that.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“What? Ghost marriage? Are you kidding me?! As long as I don’t get killed, I’ll be able to have an ‘alive’ marriage so why should I?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Jeong In-Soo smacked his lips.

“That’s unfortunate.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“What is?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“If only you were a bit uglier, than I could have argued that you will never find a girl, but looking at your mug, well, I guess you might.” (Jeong In-Soo)

Choi Jeong-Hoon gnashed his teeth.

Was this matter that easy to gloss over with a joke?

“Whatever! I’m not interested!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Mm, well, in that case.” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo suddenly exchanged glances with someone else.

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Ehng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Can you just scoot over there and hear what they have to say?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Well, sure. I guess.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jeong-Hoon screamed out loudly.

“Uwaaaaah-?! Who are you trying to send out there now?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Jeong In-Soo replied nonchalantly.

“Since I can’t go personally, I should send someone trustworthy in my stead, don’t you agree?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Trustworthy?! Trustworthy?? Did you just say he’s trustworthy?!?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“That I did.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Out of everyone in this world, you actually choose to trust that guy?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Hul.

Isn’t he going a bit overboard?

Did he forget that I’m actually standing right behind him?

That’s not something you should say in front of the guy in question. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

“If it was me, I’d never trust him even if him and I were the only two human beings left in this whole world!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“You’re crossing the line here, man!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jeong-Hoon glanced at Yi Ji-Hyuk before opening his mouth again.

“Well, it’s the truth, you know.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Hul.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

After landing a merciless strike in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s vitals, Choi Jeong-Hoon returned to the task of persuading Jeong In-Soo.

“W-why don’t we send someone else?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Such as?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Such as, an adjutant you can trust.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Look here, Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Yes?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Didn’t your agency headhunt every useful people from my side?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“………”

“We’re suffering from personnel shortage because of that, but more importantly, I’m a Colonel. If someone capable enough to contact the North Koreans below the Colonel was working for me, you think I’ll still be one even now?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“No, you’d be a General by now.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“That’s right.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“I-I guess you have a point.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Choi Jeong-Hoon’s head hung low.

“That is why Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk should step forward today. He can respond immediately to whatever those fools are thinking of, am I wrong?” (Jeong In-Soo)

It’s his mouth that can’t be responded to! His mouth!!

Forget about his body, it’s his d*mn piehole that can’t be controlled, you fool!

Yes, I’m talking about his mouth! His MOUTH!!

That thing found below his nose! (Choi Jeong-Hoon’s inner monologue)

If only they could sew Yi Ji-Hyuk’s mouth shut before sending him out – then he’d have no objections here.

However, doing that wasn’t possible, so sending Yi Ji-Hyuk as this country’s representative to contact people from another nation was going beyond the level of embarrassing Korea and straight into endangering this country’s future.

“It’s definitely a no.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Well, in that case, you have to go, then.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“….How did you arrive at that conclusion??” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Look here, Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Yes.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Stop saying this and that can’t be done, and why don’t you come up with an alternative? I can’t go, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk can’t go, so that leaves who? Can’t you see those b*stards laughing at us right now? In that case, should we call for a diplomat, then? And tell those fools that there is no ‘boss-man’ here so they should wait for a while?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“No, that’s no good, either.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“So you agree.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Y-yes, I do.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“In that case, who’ll be going, then?” (Jeong In-Soo)

Choi Jeong-Hoon grinned refreshingly.

No matter how hard he thought about it, there was only one person here who could act as a ‘boss-man’.

“It’s me.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“That’s right.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Why didn’t you force me to go, instead? If you did, then I could’ve have refused, saying that we’re from different branches.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“I wouldn’t dream of doing that to you, what with our history and all.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Hahahaha.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Choi Jeong-Hoon wiped the edges of his eyes.

And now, he couldn’t even come up with an excuse anymore. He hardened his resolve and strode over to Yi Ji-Hyuk to grab the latter’s arm rather tightly.

“….What are you doing?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“W-why don’t we go together?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“What do you mean, together?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“They are asking for the boss-man, aren’t they? Honestly, I’m a bit lacking in status to call myself the boss here, don’t you agree!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“I’ll assure them that you are the boss here, so go on ahead. What’s gotten into you?? We’re both men, you know!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“No, I’m not playing the boss, so let’s go together.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“You tried to stop me earlier, so what gives?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Back then, my life wasn’t on the line!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Hul….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes opened up wide after Choi Jeong-Hoon spoke his mind.

“I think you lowered ‘it’ too much?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I said, my life is on the line here, so who cares about my pride?! Please, come on! Let’s go!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Argh, I don’t wanna go! You didn’t want me to a minute ago, anyway!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“If you don’t want to watch me get killed, then you must come with me!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“It doesn’t really matter to me, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Kaaahahk! You’re being noisy, so come with me!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Hul.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk got dragged forward by Choi Jeong-Hoon’s hands.

“But, I don’t have anything I want to say to them….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“You can just stand next to me.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“But, I’m gonna get bored…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Play with your phone, then. Should I install some games for you?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Wifi doesn’t work here, and I don’t think there’s cellular signal in this place, either?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“There are games that don’t need an internet connection to play. One is installed on my phone, so you can play that.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“But, that one is boring….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Argh! Sh*t!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

W-wait, you aren’t supposed to say that…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t resist against the determination shown by Choi Jeong-Hoon who had become a macho man in the face of real danger to his life, and he got dragged helplessly towards the Demarcation Line.

This dude, since when did he become a ‘real’ man?

Eventually, he got dragged all the way out to the near vicinity of the Line. He quickly scanned what was waiting for him there.

“Hoh-oh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

About ten metres away from where the Line should be, there was a group of five men standing in a line.

“I thought all North Koreans were scrawny and malnourished?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Indeed, you won’t find anyone overweight that side.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“But, look at these guys. Aren’t they like, really huge?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….I’m sure they are well managed.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

From North Korea’s perspective, using weaponry to overwhelm other countries was already asking for an impossibility from a long time ago.

They did boast the size of military personnel that, when compared to some other regular countries, might earn themselves the nickname of a thug regime. Unfortunately for them, though, there was Russia and China above them, and below, there was the Republic of Korea, while to the side, the United States of America. So, the level of firepower the North possessed simply didn’t allow them to have a particularly loud voice among its neighbours.

But when it came to the ability user firepower, then the situation was somewhat different.

The moment the folks with political power discovered the presence of ability users, they began grooming them into suitable weapons of war. And their moment to shine had come recently – with Russia as the leading example, many countries were waging war with ability users serving as the spearhead.

So, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that North Korea had planned for a while to use ability users as tools of war as well, when they were renowned for treating its own citizens as expendable goods already.

Quite likely, these ability users would’ve been managed far more strictly than the elites of the North Korean army.

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And also….

‘These guys should be the top dogs among them, too.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

The Republic of Korea resorted to deploying the NDF for this event, so without a doubt, the North would’ve deployed their most trustworthy combat unit as well. If not that, they wouldn’t provoke the South so willingly and openly like this.

But if Choi Jeong-Hoon’s guess was wrong, then maybe this was a pre-planned action sanctioned by the North’s top brass.

Either way, he couldn’t take this situation lightly at all.

Just as Choi Jeong-Hoon was about to take a deep breath, the other side started talking first.

“Oh, so you’re the boss-man here?” (?)

Choi Jeong-Hoon glanced at Yi Ji-Hyuk before replying.

“I’m not sure who you were looking for, but you can certainly talk to me. What can I help you with?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Oh, nothing much, actually. I just want to see what you looked like, that’s all. I mean, we are supposed to handle this situation together, so it’s not logical for us not to know what each other looks like, am I wrong?” (?)

Choi Jeong-Hoon nodded his head.

“I see. But for that kind of purpose, your introduction seemed a little excessive.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“We’re all men here, so using some fancy-pants words to call each other out is just a wee bit unmanly, no? Please understand.” (?)

“Hahaha….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Choi Jeong-Hoon laughed awkwardly and continued on.

“Very well. I’m Choi Jeong-Hoon, Vice Director of the NDF. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“En Dee? En what? I don’t get what you’re saying. Please speak in Korean. This is an occasion where compatriots are having a meeting, so aren’t you embarrassed to use Yankee words as if you’re a Yankee stooge?” (?)

Choi Jeong-Hoon smiled awkwardly again.

“I’m Senior Colonel Rhee Jin-Cheol, from the Korean People’s Army of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Nice to meet my South Korean comrades for the first time.”

Choi Jeong-Hoon quietly studied Rhee Jin-Cheol.

‘He’s pretty outgoing, isn’t he?’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Even if this was an unofficial meeting, one held between South and North would always prove to be a rather awkward occasion. However, Rhee Jin-Cheol’s tone of voice was natural and laid-back.

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If someone from North Korea, a society far more rigid compared to the South, came out this strongly, then it could only mean that the higher-ups from that side had already approved of a certain amount of collision between the two sides.

‘I shouldn’t get sucked into their pace.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Meaning, this meeting had been a calculated one.

Meaning, they were aiming for something here.

So, definitely, not get sucked into their…..

“By the way, who’s the comrade next to you and why isn’t he saying anything?” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

Oiiii!

You mustn’t!

Don’t provoke this guy.

You will get burned.

< 283. Check first before stretching legs -3 > Fin.

(TL: Rhee Jin-Cheol’s lines were written with heavy North Korean dialect and I had trouble TLing them properly. Uh-whew.)

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