A black Gate opened in the Blue House, and Yi Ji-Hyuk walked out from it first. He was followed by Choi Jeong-Hoon who was flanked by the trio of Affeldrichae, Jeong Hae-Min and Kim Dah-Som.
“Somehow, it feels oddly quiet around here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, we’re in the middle of a national emergency, after all.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Does that mean no one’s in the Blue House?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I think most of them are in the crisis centre at the moment.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Uh? But, that shouldn’t be?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…Excuse me?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Shouldn’t the president be in his official residence no matter what? I mean, it’s lunch hour now, so shouldn’t he be at home eating, at least?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What are you even talking about? With our current situation being what it is…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Did he go there to get his hair done?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk tilted his head, and Choi Jeong-Hoon spat out a lengthy groan. It was hard to figure out what they were even talking about here.
So, he ignored Yi Ji-Hyuk and walked ahead first. He came here so frequently lately that the Blue House now felt like his second workplace.
Guards protecting the presidential residence stationed here and there didn’t even try to stop the group. Instead, one of them even ran up to them to deliver a message.
“Mister President and the other senior officials are currently on their way, sir. Please be on standby for a little while in the waiting room. I’d like to apologise for the mistake in the itinerary.”
“No, it’s fine.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Although Choi Jeong-Hoon was the one making the reply, the messenger didn’t even pay him any attention and quietly waited for Yi Ji-Hyuk’s answer, instead.
Yi Ji-Hyuk glanced at Choi Jeong-Hoon before opening his mouth.
“Nah, it’s all good. Never mind that, though. Can you get me a cup of Cola, instead?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s already been prepared, sir. Well, then.”
The messenger-c**-guard bowed and stepped out of the way, and Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders.
“This is what being on top is like.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Keu-heuk.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon could only lower his head at this bitter sense of defeat.
He didn’t expect to be treated the same as Yi Ji-Hyuk at this point in time. No, even if it was any other time, it’d still be the same story. Their level of importance was way too different, after all.
But was there really a need to so mercilessly point that out?!
“Our current situation is not good enough for us to joke around, you know.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“I didn’t say anything.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk whistled nonchalantly.
“Urgh.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon shook his head and led the group towards the waiting room. Once they stepped inside, Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the snacks and drinks laid out and spoke in clear amusement.
“Seeing how these things are prepared for us, I’m guessing South Korea is still more or less fine?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Out of all the ‘spots’ that have been identified, the North Korean one is the quietest, you see.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Hmm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head in understanding. He had already heard about what happened after he blacked out. Through this ‘spot’, a demon king and a whole bunch of demonic creatures managed to enter the world, but as long as Borencha held its breath and didn’t do anything, those creatures probably wouldn’t dare to rampage around impudently.
*Door opening up*
Even before Yi Ji-Hyuk could reach out to the snacks, though, the waiting area’s door opened and the South Korean President Yun Yeong-Min rushed inside with an urgent expression.
“You’ve finally come, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! I’m relieved to see that you are alright.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“I showed you something really pathetic, didn’t I. My bad.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Not at all. Although I have many things to tell you and ask you about, this is regrettably not the correct time nor place to discuss such things. Why don’t you get briefed on the unfolding situation first? This way, please.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min quickly sorted out the situation, took charge, and spoke what needed to be said, prompting Yi Ji-Hyuk to look at the president with a slightly surprised expression.
‘This ahjussi… His character didn’t seem the type, though?’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
There were some people who were like that – people who seem a bit dumb and absent-minded, only to come alive when the situation got worse as if they went through an awakening or some such.
Yun Yeong-Min being such a type was unexpected, but from the perspective of the country as well as the world, it should be seen as something of a relief, instead. Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t say anything and followed after the president to enter the conference room.
However, he didn’t even have the chance to greet the ones already sitting and waiting inside – Song Jeong-Su and other ministers – as the light went off almost immediately after he entered, then the huge screen came to life right away.
“According to the data currently available, a total of six doorways to the demon world have opened throughout the world. North Korea, China, India, Germany, the United States, and lastly… Congo.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su started the proceedings with a grave expression.
“Of course, those are the ones that we know of currently. For instance, there are almost no countries in Africa that have an actual, functioning government, never mind being in contact with countries in other continents. So, it’s possible that there are more doorways we haven’t discovered yet.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head.
It didn’t matter whether there were six or more doorways. Those six were already more than enough to destroy this world. Just one would’ve been difficult for this world to deal with, after all.
“Tactical nukes are deployed to somehow weaken the one in Africa, but in other locations, there are far too many civilians so it’s quite difficult to resort to weapons of mass destruction. That’s where we are at the moment.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Hmm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk scratched his cheek.
“What did Mister Christopher McLaren say?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’re currently connecting to him as we speak.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Soon, Christopher McLaren’s face appeared on the side of the large screen. After experiencing quite a few events together, the American’s face came across as rather familiar now.
However, it’d be the first time seeing him with that poor of an expression. Even back when Erukana charmed the American president, Christopher McLaren didn’t make that sort of a face.
“You lost some weight, it seems.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “…At this rate, I might end up as a zombie in three days, Mister Yi.” (Christopher McLaren)
“That sucks.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Can’t you hop over to the U.S. and somehow take care of these f*cking b*stards first? The zombie crisis was indeed bad, but this one is in another realm of madness altogether. America has never suffered a direct attack on its home soil until now. I’m learning first hand how my country can be so powerless when enemies attack from within.” (Christopher McLaren)
“That’s why prior experience is crucial. You should think of it as a valuable learning experience.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “It’d be nice if we get the chance to spend that valuable experience, but we might get destroyed before that happens.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren must’ve finished with his rants, because he immediately went into the main topic next.
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. I’d like to ask you about something.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Okay.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Currently, we’ve discovered six ‘spots’. Demonic beasts, demons, and demon kings are emerging from there.” (Christopher McLaren)
“I know.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Is there a possibility that the situation will get worse than this? How many more demon kings will cross over?” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk let out a contemplative moan before making his reply.
“Not every one of them will cross over. They can’t, anyway.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Are you sure?” (Christopher McLaren)
“Waging a war doesn’t mean you’re sending every single one of your troops to the frontlines, right? Besides, demon kings aren’t your average on-field commander or something, but… in the context of this world, they are more like prime ministers or presidents, so they can’t simply leave behind their territories unattended and cross over. At most, I’m thinking that no more than half of them will show up.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “When you say ‘half’, what level of firepower are we talking about?” (Christopher McLaren)
“You still remember the demon kings you saw the last time?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “How can I ever forget them?” (Christopher McLaren)
“The majority crossing over will be at least twice as strong as those guys.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “We’re screwed, in other words.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren frankly voiced his analysis in an emotionless manner.
He wasn’t exaggerating nor was he trying to lighten the mood. When calculating the potential end results with what Yi Ji-Hyuk said as the foundation, then one had to say that humanity realistically didn’t possess the necessary strength to resist the demon kings.
“Right. We don’t have any normal means to fight back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Can the doorways be shut?” (Christopher McLaren)
“I’m not sure if it’s that easy to exert a physical force strong enough to solve the distortion in the dimensions. Honestly, this is also my first time experiencing something like this, so… Maybe if you land a nuclear strike exactly on target, it might be possible, but demon kings are protecting the doorways to begin with, so that task should be pretty difficult to pull off, I think.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I see.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren had also witnessed the demon king appearing in Pyongyang somehow magically render the ICBMs useless in an instant.
– “In that case, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. I’d like to ask you one last question on behalf of all American people.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Okay, please go ahead.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Is there a hope for us?” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t answer, simply choosing to close his mouth instead. He then rummaged through his pockets to find a cigarette to stick between his lips. Choi Jeong-Hoon lit it up for him.
Yi Ji-Hyuk silently sucked in the acrid smoke deep into his lungs before exhaling it out, then finally opened his mouth.
“I’m not sure what you mean by ‘hope’. If you’re asking me about the possibility of defeating the demon kings, then honestly… I must tell you that we don’t have a chance in hell.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I see.” (Christopher McLaren)
“However, not having a chance doesn’t mean we should just quietly offer our necks and let them do whatever they please, am I wrong?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “No, you are most certainly not. If we don’t have a choice but to fight till the bitter end, then the correct etiquette for the rest of humanity would be to go all the way.” (Christopher McLaren)
“In that case, well, words like hope or possibility don’t have much utility for us, wouldn’t you say? We just have to go out with a bang, that’s all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Now that’s what I’ve been waiting to hear. We shall hand over all the info we have to your people. Right now, we need international cooperation more than ever.” (Christopher McLaren)
“We’ll assist you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Thank you. We’ll talk again soon after we decide on the next course of action.” (Christopher McLaren)
Christopher McLaren’s face disappeared from the screen. Yi Ji-Hyuk stubbed the cigarette out and stuck a new one between his lips.
“Why are you chain smoking?”
“Mm…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Someone was nagging at him, but too bad, he didn’t think this frustration in his heart would go away without smoking something.
‘The crap I’ve been worried about ended up happening for real.’ (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Like a bad habit, he had been telling anyone listening that humanity would be destroyed if a doorway managed to open up. That was his version of stating his will, his desire, to stop that eventuality from taking place. But in the end, the one thing he so desperately wanted to prevent did happen.
“What about the info from the North Korean side?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“We’ve confirmed the demonic creatures completely filling up Pyongyang, but for some reason, they are not making any other moves.” (defense minister)
The defense minister spoke first, and Choi Jeong-Hoon added extra info afterwards.
“Also, it’s the same story for the demon kings that appeared in other locations. The area around each spot has been completely destroyed, but none of them are showing any notable signs of activity after that.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“I’m sure that’s the case.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk replied as if that was quite obvious.
“Are they scheming something?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Well, no. Rather than that…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk pondered how he should go about explaining this, before eventually opening his mouth.
“They are kinda like immortals, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s not like they are scheming or doing something else behind the back of everyone. No, they are still moving, alright. It’s just that it’s happening really slowly.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You shouldn’t think that the concept of time for humans and demons are the same, when humans can only live up to one hundred years or so while for demons, they can live for well over hundreds of thousands of years. According to their concept of time, this invasion has only just begun, you see. No one knows if they’ll take another day or hundreds of years to make the next move. When us humans start an invasion, we might need a few hours to decide on the time to make our move whether that’s after lunch or right away. But for them, it can even take a couple hundred years.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I can’t really understand…”
Yi Ji-Hyuk could only smile wryly.
The time period between when the doorways opened up and until now was truly nothing more than a blip for those who lived for an eternity.
“Does that mean there’s a possibility that they won’t make a single move for the next several hundreds of years?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Only Choi Jeong-Hoon seemed to have understood Yi Ji-Hyuk’s words.
“That would’ve been nice, sure, but we should look back to when the demon kings descended in either Berafe or Earth. There’s probably zero chance that they’ll waste time like you say. They didn’t really kick back and relax in the other dimension from what I remember, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm…” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon shook his head, unable to come up with anything.
“Besides, those guys can completely blow up a continent to smithereens if they wanted to. You think you can carry on living like everything’s fine when there’s a ticking bomb ready to go off at any second right next to you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, it’ll be impossible.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon shook his head again in defeat and asked.
“In that case, what should we do next?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk suddenly broke out into a smirk.
“What do you mean, what? We should be fighting back.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Not only that, but properly, too.
< 394. Just What Is Going On? -4 > Fin.