“Where are we now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’re in Pyongyang.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“You think I asked that because I didn’t know??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s light retort caused Choi Jeong-Hoon’s expression to crumple.
You think I’ve been to Pyongyang before?!
How should I know where we are right now?!
Stop asking whatever pops up in your head, and think first! (Choi Jeong-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Shouldn’t we get off?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Seems that way, but….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Jeong In-Soo wasn’t moving at the moment, so it seemed like a good idea to wait for a while first.
The colonel was scanning the outside of the bus with ultra-sharp eyes. Since there had been a trouble earlier, he wasn’t sure how the North would act this time.
It was then, someone walked over to the bus.
Even at a single glance, this middle-aged man looked to be in a high-ranking position.
“Did something happen inside?” (?)
A quiet, cautious voice could be heard coming from him, and the special forces soldier guarding the bus’s door shifted his gaze towards Jeong In-Soo.
“Open it.” (Jeong In-Soo)
The door opened and the middle-aged man standing before it smiled while spreading his arms wide.
“Thank you for coming such a long way. Welcome. I’m Chief of Staff Park Yong-Hui, the Workers’ Party of the Democratic People’s Republic of Joseon.”
“I’m Colonel Jeong In-Soo, from the Republic of Korea’s Territory Defence Command.”
“If it’s the Territory Defence Command, then that’s an important organisation, indeed. And so….” (Park Yong-Hui)
The Chief of Staff scanned the interior of the bus behind Jeong In-Soo.
“Who is Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk?” (Park Yong-Hui)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stood up from his seat.
“It’s me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, it’s hard to tell from here, you see. Is it more comfortable to be sitting inside the bus? Why don’t you all disembark? I’m sure you’re hungry from the long trip, so why don’t I treat you to a good meal?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Keuh….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk seemed chuffed by the suggestion and stepped on the bus’s passageway to get to the exit.
“But, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo tried to dissuade him, but the latter simply smirked instead.
“These people aren’t brainless, probably. So it’s fine.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm….” (Jeong In-Soo)
That was true. Maybe, he was being way too cautious here. For one, North Korea wasn’t such a thuggish regime that it’d threaten those entering the country as guests of the state.
Now normally, they did show some consideration towards the state guests in the past.
“Okay. Let’s disembark, then.” (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo, looking tense, issued a new order to the special forces soldiers. He was silently ordering them not to lower their guard.
Soldiers understood his intentions and nodded in reply.
“So, this comrade here is Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Yep, that I am.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head, and the Chief of Staff, Park Yong-Hui, smiled brightly.
“Nice to meet you. I’ve been hearing that lately, thanks to your hard work, our people’s international prestige has been rising up everyday, Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Ehehe, that’s not true.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was weak against praises. Well, he hadn’t been subjected to heartfelt praises not too often in his life before, so there was that.
Also, those that did praise him often fell into the categories of either demonic beings, fellow dark sorcerers, or worse, con men.
“We’ve prepared a feast for you, so let us head there right away.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“A meal, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’ve readied the cuisine only found within our Democratic People’s Republic. I must warn you, however. They are so good that if you taste them once, you may never wish to go back.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Ohhh!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
An expectant smile formed on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s lips.
‘Hey, isn’t this atmosphere better than expected?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Sure, there were countless soldiers surrounding this place, but they weren’t carrying any firearms so they didn’t come across as heavy-handed.
No, the sense of being wholeheartedly welcomed was far stronger.
“Now normally, our citizens should have welcomed you as well, but with our current situation being what it is, we couldn’t ready them in time. I’d like to ask for your understanding.” (Park Yong-Hui)
Jeong In-Soo smiled back.
“Oh, no. No need for that. With our current situation, such a welcome would have proven to be more burdensome for us.” (Jeong In-Soo)
“Thank you for your generous words.” (park Yong-Hui)
“That’s that, then. But, what about the monster situation?” (Jeong In-Soo)
“Let us discuss that over the meal.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Alright.” (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo nodded his head and followed after Park Yong-Hui walking ahead.
“Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk.” (Park Yong-Hui)
Park Yong-Hui walking together out in front engaged in a chat first.
“Yes?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’ve been hearing that Comrade Rhee Ji-Hyuk, you are the number one warrior in South Joseon. Is that true?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“A warrior? I’m a demon king, actually.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ahahaha. You’re pretty good with jokes, comrade.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“But, it’s true?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What a world it was, no one wanting to believe in the truth. Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly felt somewhat saddened.
“Well, dunno anything about number one warrior or whatever, but it’s true that I’m the strongest, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ohh, I see. I also heard that you’ve been helping those Yankee b*stards too. Is that true as well?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Yup. They keep asking me for help, so.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s too bad.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“How come?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You showing those stuck-up Yankees a thing or two is a wonderful thing, but had you chosen to leave them alone for a bit longer, they would’ve gone through lots more hardship, you see… What a miss that is.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Is that so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Park Yong-Hui nodded his head.
“Isn’t it true that the Americans have been interrupting our unification efforts until now? Without their interference, we might have been united as one people by now.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“But, our President didn’t seem that keen on unification at all….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, is that so?” (Park Yong-Hui)
“That’s how it looked to me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon’s jaw nearly hit the ground.
How could he so casually announce such a sensitive topic like that as if he was describing whose dog that stray mutt was??
Was he even aware of what he was saying right now?
“Well, from what I hear, it’s not that they don’t, but the situation isn’t allowing them to do anything about it…. In any case, it sounded really complicated in every way imaginable.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Indeed. A person wanting to get married is a complicated affair already, so two nations wanting to join together can never be a simple endeavour.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Now that I hear you, I guess you’re right.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But, it was a pretty simple affair back in Berafe.
One only had to invade another nation and cut the king’s head off which would naturally lead to the ‘unification’. So he’d been thinking that it was an easy thing after all, but it seemed that matters were a wee bit different this side.
‘No, hang on. It’s not that different, is it?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This place was basically a kingdom anyway, so it didn’t need a whole lot to crumble this country. Just cutting off the head of the snake would do.
Sure, the aftermaths were going to be messy and that was why no one tried to do anything so far, but still.
‘Can’t tell whether that’s being selfish or realistic….’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
No, maybe they were the same in this case.
“We’ve always thought that our ability users wouldn’t lose out to anyone from any other nation out there, but after hearing your exploits so far, I have to wonder whether our boys are insufficiently trained or not.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Well, that’s something you’re born with, you know. Hard work isn’t going to help there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was a man who had already abandoned his modesty back in Berafe.
“However, those idiots are really proud of themselves, you see.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“Is that so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’d like to ask you for a favour when you’re meeting them later. They are a prideful bunch and don’t want to listen to orders. In case they act all haughty and arrogant, please, be more understanding of their shortcomings as befitting a generous man such as yourself.” (Park Yong-Hui)
“But, I’m narrow-minded?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Uhuhuhuh. As I said before, you’re good with jokes.” (Park Yong-Hui)
It was then, Choi Jeong-Hoon’s expression hardened.
‘That, he shouldn’t take that as a joke….’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
From Yi Ji-Hyuk’s perspective, he must’ve been starting to feel frustrated by now. When one thought about it, he always spoke straightforwardly without holding himself back. Just how many incidents did occur after the other side misinterpreted or didn’t believe what he was saying?
“Groan….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon could already guess pretty much what would happen later.
“Sir, they have arrived.” (Park Du-Jin)
“In Pyongyang?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes, sir. The report just came in.” (Park Du-Jin)
Currently, the whole of the Blue House was in the highest state of alert.
“….Maybe, we shouldn’t have sent him up there?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
President Yun Yeong-Min began biting into his nails again. He must’ve chewed through them a lot, because one could barely see any left on his fingers.
“Mister President, please calm down, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin hurriedly dissuaded his boss and Yun Yeong-Min reluctantly lowered his hand.
“Groan…. I had no idea I’d be this anxious. I wasn’t this jittery when that man was sent to the States, so this….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Sir, back then you had no idea what kind of a person Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk was.” (Park Du-Jin)
“….Ah, so that’s why.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
He heard that the man was a wackjob, but who’d have known that the level of wackjob-ness would be that high? After personally experiencing it, he knew now that it was on another realm from what he’d been hearing so far.
And he had to send such a bundle of incidents waiting to happen to North Korea….
“I, I need ulcer medication….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Here, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin quickly pushed forward a glass of water and the stomach pills.
“Ohh! As expected of you, Chief Secretary. Your preparedness is still top-notch.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“….Choi Jeong-Hoon has left those pills behind, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Eh?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“He said that you might need them.” (Park Du-Jin)
Indeed, no one knew better than Choi Jeong-Hoon when it came to the matters related to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“I’m sure it’s better with Choi Jeong-Hoon tagging along, right?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“….Incidents that happened so far happened not because Choi Jeong-Hoon wasn’t around, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Why couldn’t you just agree with me???” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“My apologies, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
Yun Yeong-Min spat out a helpless sigh.
“Mister Minister. You’ve finished with all the preparation in case of their provocation, right?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
The Defence Minister nodded his head.
“Yes sir, Mister President. From all forward military bases to our air force, everyone is in their highest state of alert, sir.” (Defence Minister)
“I still feel anxious regardless.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min stared at the large display with an anxious face. It was currently showing Pyongyang’s skyline.
“I hope that there won’t be any accidents.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Monsters should be arriving there soon, so I’m sure they won’t carelessly try to provoke Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk now, sir.” (Defence Minister)
“I too don’t think that will happen, but well, we all know what North Korea is like. I can’t help but be anxious, knowing that they do unexpected things all the time as if it’s the most obvious thing.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“That’s true.” (Defence Minister)
“I don’t care about anything else at the moment, I just pray that he doesn’t run into their so-called People’s Chairman. You’ve definitely conveyed our intentions, yes?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes, sir. Unfortunately, we just can’t be sure how they would take it.” (Defence Minister)
“You mean, our intentions?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Sir. From our perspective, we are trying to spare them some potential pain, but they might take it as us trying to stop them from luring away Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk….” (Defence Minister)
“Luring him away?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min’s expression hardened.
“Is there any chance of that happening?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“I’ve already asked Mister Choi Jeong-Hoon regarding Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s beliefs and political leanings, just in case, but….” (Park Du-Jin)
“What did he say?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“He said that there is no snowball’s chance in hell that Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk would live in a country without Cola.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Ah…..” (Yun Yeong-Min)
He wasn’t choosing which supermarket to shop, so using Cola to decide one’s country was a bit….
However, that explanation sure had some persuasive power.
“Meaning, he’s a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min ended up smirking a bit just then.
You’d feel worried and irritated if a man named Yi Ji-Hyuk was around you, but he could also be one of the most entertaining people to watch when thrown into someone else’s backyard.
“……Hang on a minute. Cola?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Suddenly, Yun Yeong-Min’s eyes trembled.
“Has Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk ever been to countries without Cola in the past?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“No, sir. He’s been to China, Britain, the United States and Japan, so far.” (Park Du-Jin)
“A problem shouldn’t rise up because of that, right?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Ahahaha….” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin’s laughter eventually subsided.
“I’m sure that won’t be the case, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
No matter how badly he lacked common sense, there was just no way he’d cause an incident over such a thing.
“W-what’s this??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes were visibly trembling.
“It’s carbonated and sweetened cocoa juice.”
“This…. this?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And now, his entire body was trembling.
There was a veritable feast of countless cuisines laid out before his eyes. Unfortunately, Yi Ji-Hyuk’s palette had been ruined by the MSG-added cheap-a*s food so such high-class dishes came across as plain and even in some cases, a bit too oily.
And that’s why he asked for a bottle of Cola, but this….
The thing placed before his eyes only had a similar colouring to Cola and nothing else besides – it was simple cocoa ‘water’ with this weird taste and no carbonation to speak of.
“It, it’s not carbonated??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hands shook uncontrollably.
No one knew how long they had to stay here, yet to think there was no Cola in this place?!
Suddenly, the light in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes became resolute.
“I’m going back!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon freaked out and hurriedly grabbed onto Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Let me go!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What did he feel happiest about when coming back from Berafe? It was the fact that now he’d be able to eat and drink like a real human being.
Whether it was Berafe or the demon world…. as far as food was concerned, both places only had garbage!
But now, he couldn’t have Cola?!
It was basically the same thing as stealing away one of the greatest pleasures he could enjoy in this world.
“You, wait a bit here. Everyone going back is a bit too much, sure, so I’ll just quickly pop back home and come back. I’ll buy some Cola, and….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, you can’t!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“And why not?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’ll be a huge problem!!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon jumped up in surprise and grabbed Yi Ji-Hyuk even tighter.
Did he not know what might happen if he showed the North’s officials his ability to open a Gate and go back to the South? It was the same thing as telling them that he could invade Pyongyang at any time he felt like it. It didn’t take a genius to figure out how the North would react to such a revelation.
“Seriously, what’s so special about some Cola?!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“It’s not, so let me go and get some!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk started throwing a huge tantrum, causing the Chief of Staff Park Yong-Hui to dazedly ask Jeong In-Soo.
“That comrade, what’s gotten into him?” (Park Yong-Hui)
The good colonel was utterly lost for words and could only stare at the ceiling above.
‘Ah, so this is what national disgrace is like.’ (Jeong In-Soo)
Jeong In-Soo became infinitely sad just then.
< 309. Ah, so this is what national disgrace is like -4 > Fin.