Chapter 58 – National Treasure (3)
Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun stood silently on the runway.
In front of him stood a man and a woman standing at attention.
The silence lasted for a long time.
It was Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun’s sigh and exclamation that broke the silence.
Kim Yuri and Kim Joohyuk both flinched when he began to talk. While eyeing the two of them, he began to speak.
“I had thought that my faith in the two of you wouldn’t change, but what you’re telling me right now is hard for me to believe.”
“Forgive us sir.”
The two of them immediately asked for forgiveness.
However, Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun looked at the two of them and spoke.
“I still have faith in you, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the story you have told me about Kim Tae Hoon is impossible for me to believe.”
“We have not lied!”
“That’s right. We’ve not lied!”
Seeing that Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun was unbelieving of their report, the two of them spoke up to emphasize that what they were saying was true.
Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun closed his eyes. The lieutenant colonel started thinking about their nonsensical story.
‘He killed a yellow ranked monster without laying a hand.’
He was aware that Kim Tae Hoon’s abilities were incredible. His fight with Oh Saebum was enough to confirm that.
Also, Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun’s personality required that he maximize his own skills and options so as to prepare for the unknown.
As the commander of the 35th Battalion, he had to.
He was the head of a group responsible for handling terrorist groups targeting the Republic of Korea. He wasn’t a soldier that would ever look down on an enemy or rule out the fact that a civilian might be an enemy, and so as a result, he would always picture the enemy’s figure in his head to the point of overworking himself.
However, Kim Tae Hoon’s abilities according to Kim Yuri and Kim Joohyuk’s report was much more than he had expected.
No, rather, nobody would have expected Kim Tae Hoon to be so strong.
‘It’s not that it’s beyond expectations, but common sense.’
Literally beyond common sense……
And in the face of that realization, Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun’s heart began to beat faster.
‘Opportunity in crisis.’
The only person in contact with Kim Tae Hoon currently was Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun.
If Kim Tae Hoon’s influence grows, then Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun’s influence, being in contact with Kim Tae Hoon, would have to grow as well.
‘If I carry this out alone, then my position will improve on its own.’
If Kim Tae Hoon successfully fulfills this mission, then the achievement would of course go to Yoo Daehyun.
‘Everything turned out moving according to Kim Tae Hoon’s scenario.’
At that moment, Lieutenant Colonel made the decision to walk with Kim Tae Hoon.
“The two of you will remain in Bucheon and observe Kim Tae Hoon. No, I suppose you won’t be able to.”
Kim Yuri and Kim Joohyuk had distorted expressions on their faces when given that direct order. They had initially gone to spy over Kim Tae Hoon, but since he had discovered them, it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and do so again.
“Well actually, it’s rather good now.”
However, Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun was rather pleased with how things had turned out.
“If Kim Tae Hoon is able to successfully save her in Incheon, we can attach her to him.”
In fact, he could attach people to Kim Tae Hoon.
Kim Joohyuk couldn’t help but ask a question in the face of the lieutenant colonel’s command.
“If by ‘her’ you mean……”
“Kate Kennedy. Kim Tae Hoon’s mission this time is to rescue her from Incheon.”
“Who is Kate Kennedy?”
While walking back to Bucheon, Chang Sung Hoon asked Kim Tae Hoon a question shortly after hitting the road.
“Why is the Capital Defense Command willing to give you a national treasure in exchange for saving her from Incheon. She seems to be an American?”
Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun’s demands were simple.
To rescue the woman named Kate Kennedy in Incheon.
The moment her name came up, Kim Tae Hoon did not ask a single question as though he already knew her identity. So of course Chang Sung Hoon would ask.
“She’s the daughter of someone named Douglas Kennedy.”
“Who is that?”
Kim Tae Hoon didn’t bother to hide her identity.
“The US Ambassador to Korea.”
He told him the identity of the woman without any hesitation.
The problem was something that Chang Sung Hoon couldn’t imagine.
Chang Sung Hoon stopped walking and stood still. After a bit of silence, he exclaimed with wide eyes.
“Th,the US Ambassador to Korea?”
It was something he did not expect.
But on the contrary, it was a name that Kim Tae Hoon was familiar with. It was a name that he had to be familiar with. Since if anything happened to the ambassador or any of his family members, the consequences for the Republic of Korea wasn’t something to laugh at.
“But why the ambassador’s daughter……”
“To make sure to bring the ambassador over to their side.”
Hearing that, Chang Sung Hoon put on a sour expression.
“So because of that, they’re willing to give you a national treasure if you save an American instead of a Korean? No, I know that he’s not just an average American, but even then, we’re not even going to save him but instead going to save his daughter in exchange for a national treasure…… the behavior of the Korean top brass is so……”
[TN: Let me be clear, Chang Sung Hoon isn’t expressing disgust towards Americans. He’s expressing disgust towards the Korean politicians who are placing more importance on a foreign dignitary than on their own native people of power, ie. president, prime minister, etc. Basically, he’s disgusted with their greed and lack of interest in national security. They’re willing to exchange a national heirloom for their own benefit.]
From how Chang Sung Hoon saw it, a national treasure wasn’t something you could so easily approach. They were meant to be admired from a distance.
“Regardless, once you rescue his daughter, that ambassador ought to be very grateful towards you. I’m hoping he doesn’t know how to distinguish between personal and private matters. Only then would we get any benefits from saving her.”
There would be no good feelings about the exchanging of a national heirloom for another country’s person.
In other words, Kim Tae Hoon wasn’t too pleased with the current situation.
“He’d probably be happy. In this hellish world, to rescue his family which may as well be the only precious thing left to him would mean a lot.”
“Yes, other people out there can’t even check in on their family let alone meet them.”
“Some threats would yield good results for them.”
“That is correct. Threats…… what do you mean?”
“If I were to point a gun to the ambassador’s head, he probably won’t yield; however, if I point a gun at his daughter’s head, then the story would be different.”
Hearing what Kim Tae Hoon said, Chang Sung Hoon became speechless. He simply stood there and looked at Kim Tae Hoon.
What Kim Tae Hoon had said was simply that terrifying.
Having spoken those scary words, Kim Tae Hoon drew up a picture of the current situation of Seoul in his head.
‘The US Ambassador to Seoul is a good key. However, putting up a national treasure just so that they have someone to hold hostage is a bit of an excessive investment.’
He understood why they wanted the daughter of the ambassador. It wasn’t a bad card to keep on hand.
However, offering a national treasure in exchange for intimidating a US Ambassador seemed like a steep price.
However, Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun had stated that they were willing to pay at least that much.
It meant that the situation was not simple.
‘Of course, if by doing this they’re able to influence the US Armed Forces in Korea, then it would be worth it.’
If there are any problems in the USFK allowing for the ambassador to step in and take command, then let alone one national treasure, it would be worth it to hand over several.
‘If they were to frame the situation like a war…… then even without the president or the prime minister, as long as they have the USFK, it would be more than enough to justify what they plan to do.’
The power and prestige of the USFK was just that great.
Looking at the big picture, if after some time the United States is able to get back up on its feet and moves its forces in Korea, then any force in opposition to the USFK is done for.
‘If they’re able to successfully recruit her…… then even if they lose a national treasure, they won’t lose anything.’
Even if he didn’t gain a national treasure, simply being in guardianship of the US Ambassador’s daughter would be good enough.
Having listened intently to Kim Tae Hoon’s story, Chang Sung Hoon snapped back to reality.
“Does he want us to go save the daughter with the actual intention of threatening the ambassador?”
“If it’s not that, then it would make no sense for them to pay us a national treasure. One national treasure at this point in time is enough to rival a whole group of fighters.”
“So they’re buying a hostage off of us and paying us in national treasures.”
Hearing Chang Sung Hoon sum up the situation, Kim Tae Hoon paused.
Having heard what Chang Sung Hoon said, Kim Tae Hoon couldn’t help but recall something that Lieutenant Colonel Yoo Daehyun had said.
‘You’ve changed a lot.’
He had said that Kim Tae Hoon had changed a lot.
However, Kim Tae Hoon didn’t feel appreciative.
‘I’ll have to change more.’
He knew better than anyone that he needed to change in order to survive.
‘I’ll have to get as much as I can.’
“Huk, huk, huk!”
The man running on the road was like a large car. He was running in a crazed manner like a train on a track, steam coming off of him like steam being expelled from from a train.
The only difference was that trailing behind him were terrifying things.
Those who were chasing him were unidentified monsters.
Starting from their appearance, they were strange looking creatures. They looked like monkeys, but because they were covered in mop-like hair, it might have been more apt to call it a bundle of hair. The only visible part of their body was their club-like noses that protrudes from within the mess of hair.
Large Nosed Orangutans.
There was one kind of monster that had claimed this jungle of collapsed buildings and broken cars known as Incheon as its territory.
Its race was a race of cruel and evil monsters.
‘Damn it, damn it!’
They would capture humans and play around with them.
It was literally as said.
They didn’t just eat the humans they captured, they would toy with them first. They would crush the limbs of their captives so that they couldn’t escape, afterwards proceeding to throw their feces at them, inflict pain upon them but not let them die, and even sometimes rape both men and women alike.
As a result, those who get captured by the Large Nosed Orangutans would eventually become nothing but gory messes.
‘I can’t get caught! It’d be better to just die!’
The man who was currently running, Bae Sungjoon, had seen it happen many times. That was why he was so desperate.
At that moment, the visage of a ruined building appeared before Bae Sungjoon. It was a dead end that completely blocked the road.
‘Why is the road here blocked? The deafening roar from yesterday?’
Bae Sungjoon turned his neck to the side.
At that moment, one of the Large Nosed Orangutan chasing after Bae Sungjoon threw a stone at him.
That stone struck him right in the shoulderbone.
Bae Sungjoon fell to the floor while screaming. While falling, his hair turned white.
The now white-haired Bae Sungjoon began to think of all the things he wanted to do in the future.
It was his desire for life that made Bae Sungjoon snap back to his senses. Bae Sungjoon forced himself to raise his body. He slowly turned around and looked behind him. He stared at the Large Nosed Orangutans approaching him.
Then he shouted at the top of his voice.
“F, fuck off! I said fuck off!”
Hearing his spirited cry, the orangutans began to giggle under their breaths.
One of the orangutans got up from its seat and threw a stone at Bae Sungjoon.
The stone struck Bae Sungjoon right in the chest. Bae Sung Joon’s face crumpled as he once again fell to the floor.
A few more Large Nosed Orangutans approached Bae Sungjoon whilst picking up rocks from the side of the road.
They began to play.
Realizing the orangutans’ intentions, Bae Sungjoon began to overflow with both anger and dread.
Bae Sungjoon knew what he would have to face in the not-too-distant future.
The orangutans kept throwing stones at Bae Sungjoon in order to incite fear so that he would piss his pants. Additionally, they’ll smash Bae Sungjoon’s limbs whenever they feel like it and drag him back to their nest. Once he’s there, he’ll undergo far more excruciating horrors.
In the end, all Bae Sungjoon could do was let out a desperate cry towards the heavens.
“Please, please save me! Please! I’ll do whatever you say!”
There are no gods.
Having denied the existence of gods despite what he gone through since December 31st, Bae Sungjoon reached out towards them.
But there were no gods.
Instead, there were only monsters.
“Please! Ple…… huh?”
It happened in an instant.
Accompanying the sound of the wind, the five orangutans reaching out towards Bae Sungjoon suddenly stopped in their tracks.
Shortly after coming to a stop, they collapsed onto the floor. The thud of something hitting the ground rang out five times in quick succession.
The Large Nosed Orangutans leaked out a mixture of cerebral fluid and blood.
Bae Sungjoon froze at such an incredulous sight.
A shadow came over his head. Bae Sungjoon turned his head.
The monster that had saved Bae Sungjoon from the orangutans spoke.
“I have something I want to ask.”
Kim Tae Hoon had finally made his appearance in Incheon City.