“Please wait a moment. Did you just say genocide?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min was certain that his hearing hadn’t failed him yet. And so, he was dead sure of correctly hearing what the North Korean had said.
Even then, he still had to reaffirm it because of what he heard just now was simply too shocking.
“Yes, I have.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
Rhee Jin-Cheol stared at Yun Yeong-Min with a slightly sorrowful face.
“What’s the meaning of this, w-without any explanation whatsoever??” (Yun Yeong-Min)
The South Korean president alternated his glare at the two ministers from the Defense and Unification ministries. Too bad, both men shook their heads as if they had no idea, too.
“It’s our first time hearing this, sir.” (Defense Minister)
“Me too, sir.” (Unification Minister)
Yun Yeong-Min could only groan.
If someone else said this, then that fool wouldn’t even be admitted into the building. There were too many nutters out there spreading false claims regarding North Korea nowadays, after all.
Heck, even those who defected from North Korea were mouthing off made-up bulldust on TV shows just to make a living, so it was an accepted practice these days to filter out at least half of what you heard regarding all the happenings up north.
‘This man risked his life to escape. Not only that, North Korea threatened us with war if we accepted him so there’s definitely something here.’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
Sure, the North often brought up the hellfire of war whenever boredom took over, but something just felt different this time. Never before have they mentioned war because of a single individual, until now.
Indeed, the North didn’t even mention anything remotely related to war when the humongous fish called Hwang Jang-Yop escaped to reach the South.
That meant this man right here held value that surpassed Hwang Jang-Yop….
‘If that’s the case, does that mean I have to believe him…?’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
Frowns deeply etched on Yun Yeong-Min’s face.
“I understand that you find it hard to believe. However, it’s the truth.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“M-mm….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Currently the North is gathering her citizens to Pyongyang. Do you know why?” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
The Unification Minister received Yun Yeong-Min’s gaze and nodded his head.
“It’s true, sir. The North Korean regime is summoning their masses to Pyongyang as we speak. The reason given is for the sake of a party caucus as well as the distribution of food, but their true intentions aren’t currently known.” (Unification Minister)
“I see.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min’s complexion gained its calmness.
“You said you’re Major Rhee Jin-Cheol?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes, Your Excellency.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
For a moment there, Yun Yeong-Min wondered whether he should inform the good Major or not about the abolishment of the term ‘your excellency’ in South Korea, but eventually decided to let it be and continued on with the real topic at hand.
“What is the reason for the North’s regime to kill its citizens?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“….Even I’m not sure of that reason.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Mm….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min shook his head.
“I shall evaluate highly your drive to escape from the North at great risk to your life in order to tell us the truth. However, without a solid proof or a reason, we can’t easily make our move.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“But, your excellency!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Of course, we’re fully aware of the Kim family committing countless genocide in the past. However, we simply can’t comprehend the reason why they would start slaughtering their own citizens when their society is in a period of stability. Indeed, there have been many mass murderers throughout history, but they all had a clear goal of maintaining their grip on power. But the North Korean citizens aren’t even trying to rebel against their regime, so my mind simply can’t fathom the need for a genocide….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min blurred the ends of his words, and the Unification Minister quickly took over.
“From the year 2000 onwards, North Korea preferred the option of performing labour education on those deemed to be revolutionaries rather than outright executing them, in order to bolster their workforce. The sole exception would be the ones in the ruling class. Those who got purged would indeed be executed by a firing squad, or even through cannon fire, but still, they wouldn’t put regular citizens through such extreme methods of execution. But if they were to suddenly change their directions now, there must be some kind of a catalyst for that, but we can’t see any that could serve as one.” (Unification Minister)
Rhee Jin-Cheol’s face reddened up considerably.
“If that’s the case, why do you think I rushed to get to this place?! It would’ve been just fine if I stayed back there, no?!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Mm….” (Unification Minister)
Although they could understand where Rhee Jin-Cheol was coming from, without a clear proof, it was going to be problematic trying to accept his words at face value.
It was then, Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly addressed Rhee Jin-Cheol.
“Ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Yes?” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
Rhee Jin-Cheol replied with a slightly crumpled expression as if the idea of talking to Yi Ji-Hyuk was irksome to him.
“Did you guys start that thing as soon as we left solely because you sensed something was wrong?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s only half right.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“What do you mean by that?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We did think that the higher-ups were cooking up something. Now normally, wouldn’t it be logical to evacuate your citizens first when monsters are rushing towards Pyongyang?” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“….I guess so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“However, even though the soldiers were brought in, the citizens weren’t allowed to leave the city. We all know that our Democratic Republic isn’t a normal nation. However, something like that has never happened before. Our nation will allow its citizens to evacuate freely in case of war, let’s not forget.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Maybe that’s because the swine leader of yours went insane?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Our Comrade Supreme Leader isn’t as useless as you make him out to be. That was why we found it quite strange.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Is that so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head.
From the South’s perspective, whatever the North Korean regime did wouldn’t come across as strange so they didn’t notice anything was amiss, but as a citizen of that country, it seemed that Rhee Jin-Cheol was quick to notice the inconsistencies somehow.
“In any case….” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
Rhee Jin-Cheol ended his brief chat with Yi Ji-Hyuk and continued on with his explanation.
“We did know there were hints of something off from early on. And that’s why Comrade Chief of Staff rushed the plan into action.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“That ahjussi, he seemed like such a nice guy….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk clicked his tongue and gathered both of his hands in front of him, causing Rhee Jin-Cheol to explode in anger and shout out loudly.
“He’s still alive! Stop treating him like a dead man!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Hul, he’s still breathing??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
But, wouldn’t it be normal to be dead by now?
“Huh? Wait a minute, it won’t do for him to be still alive, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Kah-ahck!!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
Rhee Jin-Cheol was about to fly off his handle, but Park Seong-Chan powerfully grabbed his shoulders. Even the latter with a lot of resentment reserved for the former had only one thing to say in this situation.
“You gotta endure it, man. You know he’s originally like this.” (Park Seong-Chan)
“Even then, wasn’t that just too much?!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“I get it, I really do. Even we had to go through this lots of times.” (Park Seong-Chan)
“Keuh-euh….” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
This was the moment that the North and South joined hands just because of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s existence.
In the meantime, Yun Yeong-Min took a sip of his coffee in order to organise his messy train of thoughts.
‘What does he expect from us?’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
The thing was, them knowing for sure that the North was planning to kill its citizens posed a serious problem.
‘Is he telling us to invade North Korea or something?’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
Sure, his emotions dearly wanted him to invade right now and flip everything on its head, but he was still the president of South Korea.
The moment he sent the army into the North Korean territory would be the moment that war broke out for real. Even if he had the pretext of preventing genocide, war wasn’t something that could be started so easily. Besides, who was supposed to deal with the sacrifices associated with war?
And there was no guarantee that both the North and the South wouldn’t be destroyed together when a Gate opened up in the middle of a frontal warfare.
If he were to make a cold, logical assessment…
Didn’t matter whether a genocide was about to take place in North Korea or not, there was nothing he could do about it.
Yun Yeong-Min finished organising his thoughts and looked at Rhee Jin-Cheol.
“I understand what you’re trying to say. The North’s ruling elites are showing signs of wanting to kill the citizens, and you crossed the DMZ in order to let us know.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes, that’s correct.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“I see. In that case, we’d like to discuss this topic among ourselves now.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Rhee Jin-Cheol sensed negative connotation from Yun Yeong-Min’s tone of voice and urgently shouted out.
“Your excellency, I’m not lying to you in the slightest! Jeong Min-Seong has taken over the ruling class and he’s trying to do something right now! Have you seen my Comrade Supreme Leader in public recently? It’s been a long time since that accursed man has taken over the Party’s top position!” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“Jeong Min-Seong?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
The Unification Minister could only display a reddened face after receiving Yun Yeong-Min’s questioning gaze. Sure, the ministry did its best to analyse all the big fish within the North’s regime, but there were just too many people registered with the Workers’ Party, and it was impossible for him to remember the names of every single one.
However, you could flip that around and say that this unknown individual was deemed not important enough and therefore, the Unification Minister hadn’t heard of him before.
“He doesn’t seem to be an important individual, sir.” (Unification Minister)
“Hmm, well, North Korea is a country like that to begin with.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Excluding those from the Kim family, referred to as an utterly inane nickname of the Baekdu bloodline, the power hierarchy of the North changed frequently, sometimes even several times in a single year.
The Supreme Leader’s favour decided one’s political power, so someone completely unexpected could take over the Party’s hegemony in an instant.
“Even if this Jeong Min-Seong has taken over the Party, is there a reason for him to start a genocide?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“….He said he’ll bring about a brand new world.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
“That’s a typical saying of those planning to take over, isn’t it?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Just before Yun Yeong-Min waved his hands to indicate that this was enough for now, Yi Ji-Hyuk opened his mouth again.
“A brand new world?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes.” (Rhee Jin-Cheol)
Perhaps he found Yi Ji-Hyuk showing some interest a welcome change of pace, Rhee Jin-Cheol nodded his head enthusiastically.
“Genocide, and a brand new world, is it…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched his chin roughly before groaning out loud.
“So, me being able to think up of something can also be this irritating, huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s cheeks puffed up from pure cantankerousness. This ominous foreboding of something really annoying had begun gnawing on him, that’s why.
“Is there something on your mind?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon keeping silent until then chimed in. He thought that the conversation taking place so far wasn’t something he could interject freely – but it was the norm for him to reply when Yi Ji-Hyuk decided to say something.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t all that many people who wanted to converse with him in this world, that’s why.
“Looks like they are trying to open a Gate.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A Gate, is it?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Excuse me? What was that??” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shook his head theatrically as if it was too annoying to explain.
“You know, that thing. It’s not like you don’t know the mechanism behind the demon kings descending to this world, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….But, uh, we don’t know how.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon sneakily turned his head and avoided meeting Yi Ji-Hyuk’s unimpressed glare.
What do you expect from me when I never knew to begin with?
If you’re such an expert, why didn’t you tell us sooner, then? (Choi Jeong-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“It’s death.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Pardon?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“In order to open a Gate, you’d need a massive pool of energy. In my case, I use Mana to open a Gate, but well, Mana isn’t the only energy source out there, you see. The fuel the demonic beings would often use is the so-called ‘negative energy’ emitted by humans when they die. Do you remember how there has always been huge-scale incidents taking place before demon kings were summoned to this world?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Ah!” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“There’s a limit to how many people you can kill through such incidents, though. If you plan it properly and get everything ready beforehand and extract the ‘negative energy’ to its extreme, then one death can substitute the deaths of dozens. However, mm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk seemed to be pondering something, so Choi Jeong-Hoon patiently waited for him to finish. Because no one present right now had as much knowledge on the subject matter than he was.
“I was thinking that such a gathering would be seen as an action of a deranged cult in this world so I figured it’d never happen in any notable scale, but if it’s North Korea we’re talking about, then I guess it’s possible.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“In that case, what will happen?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“What do you mean, what?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk grinned refreshingly and replied.
“The portal to the demon world will open, followed by the complete annihilation of the human race, that’s what.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Stop saying stuff like that with such a deadpan face!
Choi Jeong-Hoon sensed the surrounding atmosphere become deathly cold in an instant.
< 344. Time to wake up -4 > Fin.
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