Chapter 343: Time to wake up (3)

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“Is it okay to open the portal to the Blue House?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Choi Jeong-Hoon couldn’t help but hesitate after becoming slightly concerned. He might have rushed into things because of Rhee Jin-Cheol’s ominous-sounding words, but when he sobered up and thought about it a bit harder, this whole thing could be a ploy cooked up by the North Korean ability user and his government.

“For the time being, please wait for a moment.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Thinking that he was in no position to make an independent decision of such nature, Choi Jeong-Hoon shifted his gaze back to Yi Ji-Hyuk. Too bad, it was foolish to expect the latter to return the eye contact in this situation.

“Why are you looking at me with such sneaky eyes? Busy giving me the creeps and all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Urgh…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Choi Jeong-Hoon groaned deeply and looked at Park Seong-Chan next.

“I’ll make sure to babysit this b*stard real well, so please, rest easy and do what you have to do.” (Park Seong-Chan)

“Keuh….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

Both of these men were supposed to be the same human beings, yet how could their responses be so different?

Some would get it without a need to say anything, yet someone else would react so wrongly like that, too. So how could Choi Jeong-Hoon’s stress level not soar higher after seeing this?

“Well, then.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

After Choi Jeong-Hoon quickly exited from the office, Yi Ji-Hyuk asked Rhee Jin-Cheol directly.

“Ahjussi, what kinda dastardly schemes have you got going here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“…..Didn’t you see me at the death’s doorstep a few seconds ago??” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

Rhee Jin-Cheol would normally use the curt, abrasive language when talking to Yi Ji-Hyuk, but the brevity of this particular occasion caused him to speak in a more polite tone well before he even realised it. Besides, didn’t he already experience how painfully crappy this guy’s personality was earlier, too?

‘This guy, he deliberately didn’t heal me right away and made me suffer. Has to be.’

He got this feeling that what happened here was his just desserts for all the stuff he had done in the past, and that feeling directly led to a certain fear overtaking him – the fear of unexpected reprisal if he made a slip of tongue somewhere.

“That means you weren’t cooking up a dastardly plan?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That’s correct.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

“So he says?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s sparkly eyes shifted over to Park Seong-Chan, but the big man simply snorted back viciously.

“You trust what this b*stard is saying? You telling me to believe something a bloody Commie said?” (Park Seong-Chan)

“Hul, he said a Commie! Ahjussi, what do you mean by ‘Commie’? What era are we living in now anyway?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“But, he’s a Commie, isn’t he?” (Park Seong-Chan)

“Ahjussi, you will get locked up if you keep that up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“….That’s only when you accuse a South Korean of being a Commie without proof. This guy, he is definitely a Commie, isn’t he??” (Park Seong-Chan)

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“Uh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Was that how it worked?

“But, calling a dog a dog makes the dog feel bad, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Why would a dog feel bad when you’re calling it a dog? It’s a dog, ain’t it??” (Park Seong-Chan)

“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

….Since when did we veer off the topic by this much? This wasn’t originally it, so, uh…. (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)

Utterly disregarding whether Yi Ji-Hyuk was falling into a dilemma or not, Park Seong-Chan continued with his impassioned speech.

“You all know how good these b*stards are at stabbing you in the back. They start a peace conference and whatever, but behind the scenes, they send out warships to attack our country! That’s the kind of people we are dealing with, so you can’t actually expect me to trust anything these as*holes say!” (Park Seong-Chan)

“….So he says?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s pouting face now was looking at Rhee Jin-Cheol, and the latter sighed back.

“Whether you believe me or not, that’s not my problem. I simply bring information this side, and figuring out what to do after listening to it will be up to you people.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

“So he says?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his head left to right constantly, but then, Jeong Hae-Min walked over to where he was, grabbed his head, and made it stop right in the middle.

“A man should have some dignity!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

“Ng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

It was then, Choi Jeong-Hoon re-entered the office.

“Please open a Gate connecting to the Blue House.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Don’t wanna?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Eh? But why not?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“I’m told that a man should have some dignity.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“That’s not what I meant!!” (Jeong Hae-Min)

Choi Jeong-Hoon watched Jeong Hae-Min angrily slap Yi Ji-Hyuk’s back nonstop, and spat out a series of sighs.

Why couldn’t she do that when it was only them here?

Choi Jeong-Hoon spotted Rhee Jin-Cheol watching the duo with flabbergasted expression, and couldn’t hide his embarrassment.

This was the moment the nation’s shameful secret was being laid bare.

*

Wuooong.

President Yun Yeong-Min’s expression was calmness personified as he watched the Gate open up.

This sight no longer fazed him after witnessing it a few times already. Just that, he still felt way too uncomfortable with the dude about to emerge from it. That was it.

“Been awhile.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

He watched the bright-faced Yi Ji-Hyuk pop out of the Gate while waving his hand, and felt his stomach problems flare up again. He thought it was all cured by now, but this…. It’d be so much nicer if this pain was nothing more than gastritis, but even now, he could vividly feel the sensation of gastric ulcer spreading all over his abdomen.

‘One should be prepared for all occasions, indeed.’ (Yun Yeong-Min)

Yun Yeong-Min swallowed the medicine prepared beforehand and greeted back with a considerably smooth smile.

“Welcome back, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Yun Yeong-Min)

“Hi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk fully emerged from the Gate before scanning the office itself.

“Mm?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Fully-armed soldiers were pointing their barrels at the Gate. The sight of pitch-black ballistic armour plating and helmets-wearing squad of men gave Yi Ji-Hyuk a nasty case of shivers.

“Did I do something wrong?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“They aren’t here because of you, so please, compose yourself.” (Defense Minister)

The Defense Minister quickly explained the situation in a flustered voice.

“This is only because we don’t know that man’s intentions. You’re here so nothing untoward should happen, but it’s still prudent to be ready for all contingencies, no?” (Defense Minister)

“H-ng.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head in understanding. Soon afterwards, a couple more figures emerged from the Gate and he closed the portal.

“It’s Choi Jeong-Hoon here. It’s my honour to see you again, Mister President.”

“Welcome back.” (Yun Yeong-Min)

“And this is Major Rhee Jin-Cheol that came from the North.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)

“Mm…..” (Yun Yeong-Min)

Yun Yeong-Min’s contemplative eyes were now locked on Rhee Jin-Cheol.

“I heard that you wish to speak to me?” (Yun Yeong-Min)

Rhee Jin-Cheol smirked and replied.

“Isn’t South Joseon a bit too lackadaisical? I only wanted to speak to the top military commander, but to think, an actual President showed up instead. Now this is something unimaginable back in the Democratic People’s Republic.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

“How dare you, you b*stard!” (Defense Minister)

The Defense Minister shot up from his seat, but Yun Yeong-Min waved his hand nonchalantly and calmed him down.

“It’s fine.” (Yun Yeong-Min)

“But, Mister President!” (Defense Minister)

Yun Yeong-Min shook his head and addressed Rhee Jin-Cheol.

“I don’t know how things are like back in North Korea, but in the South, we place great value on rationality. It’s considered normal this side for a President to step up if the matter at hand requires utmost urgency on our part. So, can you tell us what this urgent matter is, then?” (Yun Yeong-Min)

Rhee Jin-Cheol quietly observed Yun Yeong-Min, before standing straight and performing a military salute.

“I beg your pardon. I’m Major Rhee Jin-Cheol, captain of the People’s Ability User Brigade first division, the People’s Democratic Republic of Joseon. It’s my honour to make your acquaintance, Mister President of the Republic of Korea.”

“I’m Yun Yeong-Min. Would like to sit down?”

Yun Yeong-Min pointed to the couch, and Rhee Jin-Cheol settled down without a single argument.

“Well, now. Please tell us your side of the story. What happened?” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

Rhee Jin-Cheol gulped once, and finally spoke his piece.

“What I’m about to tell you from here on might sound implausible, but I swear, it’s all truth.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

“I’d like to determine that after hearing your story first, Major.” (Yun Yeong-Min)

“Currently, up in the North….” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

Rhee Jin-Cheol sighed deeply and continued on.

“….A genocide is about to take place.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)

“Excuse me??” (Yun Yeong-Min)

Yun Yeong-Min’s eyes trembled greatly.

***

“The preparations?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“There’s been no problem, sir.” (adjutant)

Jeong Min-Seong hummed in good spirit. He found the darkened world outside his windows really to his liking.

“You know, Pyongyang is a truly amusing city. Really.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

Due to the shortage of electricity, all lights had to be turned off, yet in the middle of the plaza, the lights illuminating the tall statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il were never switched off.

These two golden statues lonesomely gleamed in the middle of the darkened cityscape, and came across as eerily bizarre to him. This country couldn’t be right in the head, trying to proudly show those off as the symbol of their prestige.

“They are flocking without a fuss?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“We issued the order in the Party’s name, so they shouldn’t be able to refuse, sir. Besides, we used the bait of distributing food to everyone who show up here, as well.” (adjutant)

“What a garbage of nation.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

To think, they had to resort to such underhanded methods to simply gather people.

If this was any other country, it’d be fine to simply mobilise the necessary manpower and vehicles to bring the crowd in, but too bad, this particular country didn’t have enough vehicles to do that. And besides, there wasn’t enough fuel available to power them, anyway.

A pre-planned activity could only come about when there was enough budget for it. In the end, there was no other choice but to send out the Party members to lead the people here.

“Still, it’s a relief that we’re in the middle of winter. Shortage of food means that everyone is voluntarily stepping up to come here, sir.” (adjutant)

“I see.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

Jeong Min-Seong nodded his head.

“This truly is a country rotten to the very core. However, our plan only works because this country is so rotten in the first place, and that’s the amusing part. It’s as if this land was prepared for the event of that person’s arrival.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

There were unexpectedly quite a few nations even worse off than North Korea on this planet.

The main issues with the North were that there was no freedom of thought, as well as the constant oppression from the Kim family, but when it came to the overall economic health, it wasn’t as far behind everyone else as you might think.

As proof, just take a look at the African continent; nations with people dying of starvation could be found quite liberally. However, there was no other nation on Earth that a government managed to thoroughly control its masses like the North.

And that was what made this land just about the perfect location to bring their plan to life.

“If the lives of these worthless humans can serve to kickstart a brand new era, then well, I’m sure there is no death more nobler than that.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“It is, sir.” (adjutant)

“I hope there won’t be any potential problems, moving on?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“……….”

“You’re not answering?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

The adjutant lowered his head slightly and replied.

“Rhee Jin-Cheol’s whereabouts are currently uncertain, sir.” (adjutant)

“Mm?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

Jeong Min-Seong’s forehead creased up a little.

“You don’t know where he went? Did you not send our men after him? Yet, it’s not ‘he’s now in the South’, but you don’t know where he is?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“Everyone chasing after Rhee Jin-Cheol have vanished into thin air, sir. It must’ve happened too quickly, because none of them could radio us.” (adjutant)

“….It’s Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

Jeong Min-Seong pulled the cigarette out of his lips and stubbed it out.

He couldn’t think of any other explanation besides that one. No matter how hard he thought about it, there could be no one else other than that man capable of instantly erasing all the ability users they so carefully trained.

“In that case, we must now assume he’s in South Korea. Yi Ji-Hyuk must’ve taken him.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“Will it be fine, sir?” (adjutant)

“They won’t be able to stop something that has already happened. Besides, Rhee Jin-Cheol also doesn’t have the full picture of what’s going on here. Meaning, the South Koreans will have to consider carefully how to respond, and by the time those slow-moving b*stards come up with a plan, everything should be completed on our end.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“Indeed…. I guess so, sir.” (adjutant)

Although he was saying that, Jeong Min-Seong’s expression wasn’t so bright.

‘Well, in the end we got tangled up with one person I didn’t want to.’ (Jeong Min-Seong)

This was beyond the issue of how powerful that man was or not. They just couldn’t predict what Yi Ji-Hyuk would do next. He was always ready to act on his see-sawing whims, so he could very well suddenly show up in Pyongyang one morning and flip everything on its head. Not to forget, he had the ability to do so, as well.

“Hmm….” (Jeong Min-Seong)

Jeong Min-Seong massaged his face before continuing on.

“Looks like we’ll have to speed up the plan. Send the word out to everyone and tell them to hurry up.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“Understood.” (adjutant)

“What about the swine?” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“He’s currently lost in the combination of the Pleasure Group and the drugs, sir. I’m sure we can even make him squeal like a real pig about now.” (adjutant)

“Nice.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

Jeong Min-Seong grinned. Personally turning that stinking insect of a man that leeched off on the blood and sweat of his citizens into a wastrel – even if he hadn’t been doing it for long, this feat still nevertheless gave him a great deal of satisfaction.

“A swine should live like a swine, but what an unfortunate thing is, letting that b*stard live on in that state. He belongs in the pigsty, after all.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“There are just too many eyes watching, sir.” (adjutant)

“I told you, I know.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

If only it wasn’t for all the gazes, that swine would’ve been disposed of by now.

“In any case. Hurry up with the preparations.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

“Yes sir!” (adjutant)

The adjutant exited from the room, and Jeong Min-Seong shifted his gaze back outside the window – at the giant statues in the middle of the darkened cityscape.

“Looks like a mausoleum.” (Jeong Min-Seong)

And for sure, it’d soon turn into a real grave, too.

The entirety of the city named Pyongyang, that was.

Jeong Min-Seong smiled softly and observed the city soon to be turned into a graveyard.

< 343. Time to wake up -3 > Fin.

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(TL: The “Pleasure Group”, or “Kippumjo/Gippeumjo” is a collection of women numbering around 2000, maintained by the leadership of North Korea to provide various ‘pleasures’ to the nation’s top brass, mostly sexual in nature. Allegedly. There are various English names for this group, including Pleasure Squad and Joy Division. I’m not making this up. There is actually a dedicated Wikipedia page on the subject, so if you’re curious, have a gander.)

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