Chapter 305: So, you want me to go there now? (5)

“B-but, I asked you not to come out of the bus!” (Jeong In-Soo)

“I was curious, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“About what exactly?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“I mean, this is a real North Korean, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……..”

Uhm, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?

You mustn’t look at fellow human beings as if they are monkeys in a zoo. No, you definitely mustn’t.

It’s just North Korea and no, aliens don’t live here, so how could you look at someone else with such eyes?

Ehhheeeeii!! (Jeong In-Soo’s inner monologue)

“Who the f*ck is this b*stard?” (soldier)

The North Korean soldier must’ve been displeased with the way Yi Ji-Hyuk was looking at him, because his response couldn’t be described as friendly at all.

“N-no, this is….” (Jeong In-Soo)

For the first time in a long while, Jeong In-Soo got to feel what it’s like to become speechless. Trying to describe who – or what – Yi Ji-Hyuk was to a North Korean was rather similar to explaining Antarctica to an Aborigine living in a tropical rainforest.

Indeed, this was well out of the scope of their understanding.

“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, please go back inside for a moment. You can meet many more North Koreans once we reach Pyongyang.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“….But, I’m bored.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

No, hang on. Didn’t he see North Koreans back in the DMZ?

“Didn’t you see those ability users back then?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“It’s weird, but I just don’t get that feeling of looking at ‘people’ when looking at ability users, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“……..”

Well, we’re in agreement there.

You also sometimes don’t come across as a human, you see? (Jeong In-Soo’s inner monologue)

“In any case, let me handle this, so please.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Mm, got it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head and went back inside.

“What was that?” (soldier)

“It’s nothing.” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo shook his hand dismissively and frowned a little.

Now that he thought about it….

‘Where did our lead vehicle disappear to?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

There was a North Korean vehicle guiding the bus ahead of them. It was definitely there only a few moments ago, so….

‘Did it go past the checkpoint no problem?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

But, that made no sense.

If the vehicle tasked with guiding the bus behind it went through the checkpoint all by itself, then what exactly was the point of it guiding them in the first place?

‘Oh, so you want to cause us trouble, is that it?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo gritted his teeth a little.

Indeed, this was a clear sign of them trying to put South Koreans in a grinder. Otherwise, something like this wouldn’t have occurred.

‘Should I just flip everything?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

Simply having Yi Ji-Hyuk stand next to him would ensure that the flow of this event would become utterly predictable. However, he couldn’t resort to that knowing why he was here in the first place.

He couldn’t understand where this attitude of the North’s ruling party was coming from, though. They definitely needed Yi Ji-Hyuk and the NDF. Yet, why were they voluntarily trying to cause trouble for themselves like this?

Even if North Korea was a deeply closed-off society, shouldn’t they have at least a minimum level of common sense? Who would end up as the loser if Yi Ji-Hyuk got p*ssed off by this treatment and decided to head back home?

“Stop wasting time and get everyone out of the vehicle, now.” (soldier)

“You want them to come out?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“You deaf?” (soldier)

Jeong In-Soo leaned slightly to his side. He was no longer inclined to protect this fool if they wanted to play this way. And when he thought about it, his highest priority was to ensure that Yi Ji-Hyuk’s moods weren’t negatively affected at all times.

“Oi, what’s your rank, soldier?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“What did you say?” (soldier)

“Did I not reveal that I’m a Colonel from the Republic of Korea? We received requests from the Joseon Workers’ Party and are on our way to carry out a mission for them. Yet who the hell do you think you’re, daring to use curt language and threats? Should I lodge an official complaint to the party?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“….Workers’ Party??” (soldier)

The signs of fluster quickly filled up the soldier’s face.

“Didn’t a vehicle pass by here before us?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“T-that it did.” (soldier)

“That was our lead vehicle. There must be some kind of misunderstanding here, but here’s the deal. We’re currently on our way to Pyongyang after the Workers’ Party requested for our presence. Every second counts, yet you’re wasting our godd*mn time like this, so you think you and your friends will be alright later?” (Jeong In-Soo)

The eyes of the soldiers quaked visibly.

‘They really have no idea?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

Then again, it’d become an even bigger headache if these soldiers were warned beforehand and then things went wrong. The ones behind this whole thing must’ve been planning to keep these soldiers in the dark and let them do their jobs, and after things went sideways, use them as scapegoats and throw them all under the bus, so to speak.

Although it was a really cheap, cowardly and irritating tactic, the fact remained that such a tactic remained rather effective nevertheless.

‘Even if we break through forcibly here, these fools still won’t be safe later.’ (Jeong In-Soo)

In any case, these soldiers’ job was to man the checkpoint.

Indeed, it was to monitor everyone wanting to get through and search them. So, letting dozens of unidentified South Koreans through without doing anything means they would definitely have to answer for it later.

“Don’t you have a higher ranking officer here?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“….What are you talking about?” (soldier)

“I’m saying, go and call someone in charge. I’m sure you’ll be told to let us through. This isn’t a matter you can take responsibility for, anyway.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“T-then, wait for a moment here.” (soldier)

The soldiers sneaked several unconvinced glances at the bus before heading towards the sentry outpost. Since they were supposed to ‘protect’ the roads, they at least seemed to be equipped with a radio communication equipment. If not, the headache would certainly get far greater.

The soldiers wrestled with the equipment for a long time.

‘Jesus H. Christ….’ (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong in-Soo slowly shook his head.

Once upon a time, South Korea was rocked by the unreasonably high estimation of the North Korean army’s capability. Back then, people fell into the trap of overrating them and got really spooked by their own imaginations. They discussed the North Korean combat units outfitted with chemical weaponry, their hardcore special forces, etc, at length.

But, an exceedingly simple conclusion came about after some time later.

In the end, the thing called ‘soldier’ needed to be fed well in order to fight properly, and you’d need money to train one, too. It was impossible for a country suffering from food shortages to create a battalion of elite soldiers. And Jeong In-Soo was learning that fact first-hand.

Even if the Korean army was self-torturing itself by being a badly-run joke of a military, sentries being that lost and confused would still bring about a firestorm, that’s for sure.

If Jeong In-Soo was the man in charge here, then he’d make sure to show these fools what inside of Hell looked like for ten days straight.

These soldiers could be considered ‘elites’ in their own right, tasked with guarding this important corridor, yet to think they’d display such a shameful sight.

‘If there’s really a war breaking out tomorrow, we’ll be able to sweep these people away in an instant.’ (Jeong In-Soo)

A war not breaking out was in everyone’s interests, but as Jeong In-Soo was a dyed-in-the-wool military man, he couldn’t help but think that way.

The soldier finally stopped wrestling with the comm equipment and approached Jeong In-Soo.

“What happened?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“This son of a b*tch, you trying to make fun of me?!” (soldier)

Click!

The barrel of the rifle was now pointing at Jeong In-Soo’s head.

*

“Sh*t, look!” (Park Seong-Chan)

Park Seong-Chan shot up from his seat.

“What is it now?”

Others also saw what was happening outside and began standing up.

“Everyone, please remain seated.”

Members of the special forces squad tried to calm the NDF agents.

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“But, can’t you see those guns being aimed at the Colonel-nim??” (Park Seong-Chan)

“We can see it. However, please don’t be hasty.”

“Your boss is in danger, yet why are you stopping us??” (Park Seong-Chan)

Park Seong-Chan grew angry, but the special forces soldier simply replied in an emotionless face.

“Our mission is to escort all of you safely to Pyongyang.”

“No, listen here, man. It’s getting dicey out there.” (Park Seong-Chan)

“If you wish to think about Colonel’s safety, then please return to your seats. As a soldier, what he wishes for right now is to fulfil his mission. There is no greater dishonour for a soldier to fail his mission while being protected by civilians.”

“Groan….” (Park Seong-Chan)

Park Seong-Chan shook his head and settled back down on his spot.

The soldier wasn’t wrong, though.

“Besides, there’s nothing to worry about. He can subdue such a situation with his bare hands.”

“Really?” (Park Seong-Chan)

“You mustn’t think that the position of Colonel in the Territory Defence Command will just fall on anyone’s lap from the sky. We might be known more for taking on monsters, but in truth, our unit has seen more combat situations than any other since the founding of our nation. And he implicitly trusts our gut instincts.”

“Mm…..” (Park Seong-Chan)

Park Seong-Chan stared at Jeong In-Soo with worried eyes.

*

“What is the meaning of this nonsense now?” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo’s less-than-impressed glare met with the soldier’s.

“The higher-ups say there’s no such thing! You son of a b*tch, where did you really come from?! Do I look stupid to you?” (soldier)

Jeong In-Soo audibly clicked his tongue.

It seemed that the other side had decided to make this really difficult for them.

“Lower your gun.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Who do you think you….” (soldier)

“I said, lower your godd*mn gun!!” (Jeong In-Soo)

Flames figuratively erupted out of Jeong In-Soo’s eyes, causing the North Korean soldier to flinch and retreat just a little.

It had been five years already since he started taking command of the seemingly-endless battles against monsters. Meaning, no one in the country’s history had experienced as many battles as he had.

So, there was no way that a run-of-the-mill sentry could handle the fierce aura of a veteran of hundreds of battles.

“You dare to raise your gun at me? You really wanna have a go, is that it, ah??” (Jeong In-Soo)

“N-no, that, that’s not it….” (soldier)

“You stinking sons of b*tches.” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo became seriously irate, and the surrounding North Korean soldiers fell deeper and deeper into the state of confused panic.

“Call the Workers’ Party. I’m not going to let this go now, you hear me? I don’t know which stupid motherf*cker wrote this script, but you think South Korean soldiers are pushovers? We came begrudgingly because a bunch of beggars pleaded with us, yet you trying to insult us like this?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“……”

“Hey you stinking punks! What the f*ck are you doing! I said, call your superior officer on the phone!!” (Jeong In-Soo)

“T-that is…” (soldier)

“Call this sh*t in, now!” (Jeong In-Soo)

Jeong In-Soo became even more forceful and the soldiers began hesitating.

They too had functioning brains here; they could also figure out the meaning behind a bus full of South Koreans being in their territory like this. Unfortunately, as there was no actual command coming from the higher-ups, they had no choice but to stick to the field manual.

“Call your superiors, now. I don’t have anything to say to you lot. If you can’t find solutions, stop wasting my time and get someone who can!” (Jeong In-Soo)

The soldiers exchanged glances with each other, waiting for someone to come up with an idea all the while their lips bobbed up and down stupidly.

Choi Jeong-Hoon watched this spectacle unfold from inside the bus and was thoroughly impressed by it.

‘But, then again….’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

From the perspectives of South Koreans, the North Korean army came across as an awkward foe to handle, but there was no denying that the North thought the same about the South’s soldiers.

Sure, they wouldn’t look at each other as if they were mythical animals, a la Yi Ji-Hyuk, but honestly speaking, they also didn’t want to get involved with one another if they could help it.

To make matters worse, if what Jeong In-Soo said was true, then these soldiers would obviously all end up in the concentration camp later, so how could these North Koreans not hesitate?

“What’s going on now?” (?)

It was then, a man waltzed out of one of the sentry posts.

“Have you all lost your d*mn minds or something? What the hell are you doing??” (?)

“C-Captain, sir. Things are a bit strange with these people.” (soldier)

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“Strange?” (?)

The man referred to as captain now began scanning Jeong In-Soo and the rest. He immediately realised that the bus couldn’t have been from the North and his expression hardened instantly.

“Who the hell are you?” (?)

“Is it not an etiquette to introduce yourself first?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Etiquette? Did you just say etiquette to me?” (?)

Jeong In-Soo confirmed this man’s rank. Judging from his army service ribbon, this new guy must’ve been a major.

“You, the way you speak, you are a South Joseon b*stard, aren’t you?” (major)

“So what if I am?” (Jeong In-Soo)

“How dare a bunch of South Joseon hicks come to our glorious nation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Joseon and raise their voices?? Hey, arrest all these as*holes and send them to prison, now.” (major)

Jeong In-Soo grew utterly dumbfounded just then.

‘Is this guy insane?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

Arresting them?

Arresting those that came because of their government’s request?

Even if North Korea was a joke of a state, something like this still shouldn’t happen.

‘Wait, so it’s not them trying to cause us trouble? Did something really happen?’ (Jeong In-Soo)

Even they wouldn’t go this far to create trouble to this extent.

“No, you hang on for a second. Didn’t the lead vehicle go past here before us? Contact them and see.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“A lead vehicle?” (major)

“That’s right.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“I don’t get what bullsh*t you’re trying to sell, and I don’t give a d*mn. You have an entry permit or a pass?” (major)

“……..”

Of course Jeong In-Soo wouldn’t have that.

“Arrest them. These sons of b*tches, you trying to cause us big problems, aren’t you?” (major)

“You’re making a big mistake.” (Jeong In-Soo)

“Oh, now you’re resisting us?” (major)

Click! Click!

Guns were now pointing at the bus. Jeong In-Soo’s expression hardened.

‘This isn’t good….’ (Jeong In-Soo)

He wasn’t thinking that things would get dangerous if trouble occurred with North Korean soldiers. Actually, the folks in the bus couldn’t be stopped by these sentries. Hell, these soldiers wouldn’t even be able to deal with a single NDF agent.

No, the real issue was with the fact that ‘trouble’ itself would prove to be disadvantageous to the South Koreans. Their aim this time wasn’t to earn benefits by dealing with the North, but to stop the monsters and prevent the collapse of this country’s systems.

“Stop resisting and surrender.” (major)

The encirclement began tightening and Jeong In-Soo clenched his fists harder.

< 305. So, you want me to go there now? -5 > Fin.

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