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Chapter 68 To Buyeo (1)
The monsters have taken away many things from mankind. They took away the lives of thousands of people, they took away food and shelter, and they took away people’s livelihoods.
And light, they took away light.
The nights had become pitch black ever since the advent of monsters.
If the progress of civilization were to be measured by the brightness of the night, then mankind had regressed into the distant past.
However, even in such a world, there was a place where a fire burned bright, like a lone firefly in the darkness of the night.
“Euh, well let’s start then.”
“Let’s hurry up and finish, the nights are still pretty chilly.”
“Come on, let’s finish and have some soju over ramen or something.”
“I applied for the night shift just for that. I have to work until dawn, but then I get to have soju and ramen, and I get to wake up in the afternoon with relaxed eyes, I’m telling you this is like paradise.”
The nights were not dark there.
There were makeshift street lights brightening up the streets, giving the night time an air of hope, not solitude and silence.
The citizens had the opportunity to see the night sky.
“Ah, there are so many stars.”
“You’re right. This is the first time I’ve learned there were so many stars above Bucheon.”
“Of course there were originally many stars. It’s just, I’ve never been able to see them like this.”
The pollution created by factories and cars that blocked off the skies had dispersed and revealed the sky.
Such a beautiful sky detracted from the doom and gloom of the end of the world.
The starry sky filled those who looked up with a sense of excitement.
Kim Tae Hoon and Chang Sung Hoon had returned to Bucheon on a good night where the starlight was clear.
Like that, only Ahn Sunmi and Bang Hyun Wook came out to meet the two in the dead of the night.
The two of them were ecstatic to meet them.
The two of them suddenly noticed the blonde haired, blue eyed, and fair skinned beauty blinking her eyes behind Kim Tae Hoon and Chang Sung Hoon.
“W-who is she?”
“Who is that person?”
The answer came from the mouth of Chang Sung Hoon, not Kim Tae Hoon.
“Oh, this person is the Boss’ first wife. A wife. She’ll be sister-in-law to Hyun Wook and madam to Sunmin noonim. “
The two of them were surprised at Chang Sung Hoon’s answer, but Kim Tae Hoon lightly smacked the back of Chang Sung Hoon’s head with his Telekinesis.
Kim Tae Hoon then made a formal introduction.
“Her name is Kate Kennedy, and she’ll be our hostage for now.”
Hearing Kim Tae Hoon’s explanation, Bang Hyun Wook and Ahn Sunmi’s expressions showed that they were confused. Scratching his head, Chang Sung Hoon spoke up.
“Boss didn’t I tell you? Wife is better than hostage.”
Kim Tae Hoon then began to relay the conversation he had with Kate Kennedy.
Kim Tae Hoon explained to Kate Kennedy what had happened to the world during the time she spent in the secret bunker.
The world became a giant monster’s lair and the survivors were forced into a life and death struggle with the monsters in order to survive.
Hearing that, Kate Kennedy asked a question about her dad.
“Do you know where my father is?”
“Although I haven’t seen the US Director to South Korea, I’ve been told that he’s under the protection of Capital Defense Command which is located in Seoul.”
“Then I’ll head there. Please, guide me there.”
It was a natural thing for Kate Kennedy to say.
In addition to her wanting to see her family, she was also the ambassador’s daughter.
However, Kim Tae hoon rejected her request.
“Why? Is the path there dangerous?”
“You are now a card we need to take advantage of in order to get a better position during negotiations.”
“What kind of……”
“Simply put, you’re like a hostage.”
In addition, Kim Tae Hoon hadn’t made a friendly expression or given a friendly explanation.
Kate Kennedy had the impression that Kim Tae Hoon was joking, but looking into his eyes, she could tell that he was being serious.
He was being serious.
Kate was just that important to Kim Tae Hoon.
Having her meant that they could sit at a negotiations table with the US ambassador.
On top of that, she was an unexpendable human resource far more precious than gold as she possessed an Energy rank of A.
‘A Rank is something you can’t reach simply by hunting monsters and eating monster stones.’
Kim Tae Hoon had personally eaten many monster stones until now.
Despite that, Kim Tae Hoon’s Telekinesis had not budged from A rank.
The existence of an A Rank ability was proof that it wasn’t something that could simply be obtained by eating monsters.
There was a chance that A Rank was limited only to an artifact’s rank.
Coming into possession of monster stones, relics, and A Rank Awakened would allow a power to defeat all foes in the upcoming war for the future.
‘Additionally, for an A rank Energy…… it means that she could handle a blue ranked monster’s Fear.’
Additionally, Kim Tae Hoon was in sore need of another A Ranked Awakened.
Energy was definitely a counter against a monster’s Fear.
It was definitely in high demand.
However, it seemed like a higher level of Energy would be needed to face off against stronger monsters.
Kim Tae Hoon needed Kate Kennedy.
If need be, he would restrain her.
‘Handing her over to Capital Defense Command would only be helping my enemies.’
It was the same for Capital Defense Command.
The more precious Kate Kennedy was to the US Ambassador, the more valuable her worth was.
The US Ambassador was not a fool, in fact it was quite the opposite. Even if the armed forces were in possession of powerful weapons and relics, he would become well aware of their limitations when fighting against stronger monsters.
It was the same for Kim Tae Hoon.
If he had the ability to oppose the monster’s Fear, then he wouldn’t have spent so much time picking off wandering orcs and displaying such a troublesome thing as a show of arms before fighting against the Twin Headed Ogre.
He had no choice but to exercise a show of arms.
Kim Tae Hoon went through multiple scenarios in his head regarding how the USFK would handle things in South Korea. He considered the USFK getting on good terms with at least a B-Rank Ranker in order to deal with green rank monsters.
‘The USFK would be able, and willing to, set up a new government in South Korea if necessary.’
Among the numerous scenarios, there was one where a new regime would rise to replace the pre-existing one.
The longer it takes, the greater the influence the US would have on the entirety of South Korea and the USFK.
Above all, Kim Tae Hoon saw.
The Angel of Death, an AC-130 Gunship, one of the symbols of demise owned by the US Army, had launched a flare towards Kim Tae Hoon.
‘Even if they didn’t have relics, the United States is the United States.’
It was definitely difficult to see the United States as a place with many relics.
Places such as Europe where many civilizations sprang up from; places where worldwide religions began like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism; and other places with roots from the start of the world would outclass others when it came to relics.
Despite that, it wasn’t like the United States couldn’t be considered to be strong.
Those who desire to begin a new regime while securing relics and recruiting Awakened would be the first to ally themselves with the United States.
If there is only one bride yet multiple bridegrooms, then the only result would be war.
It would be foolish to only look at the USFK in Korea.
‘It would be a different story if the US forces in Japan move into Korea.’
It was essential to look at the USFK’s movements alongside the US armed forces in Japan.
No, rather, who knows if Korea was the biggest point of contention at the moment.
Throughout the history of the Korean Peninsula, wasn’t the power that showed a mad obsession with taking over the peninsula none other than Japan?
Should Japan come out on top against the monsters, then a slight increase in power would be all they need to go attack Korea.
On top of that, the United States Forces Japan (USFJ) possessed firepower that the USFK couldn’t compare to.
The reasons why Kim Tae Hoon should keep Kate Kennedy as a hostage were overflowing.
“When you say hostage, what do you mean.”
Kate was oblivious about the crucial role she played in this intricate web of politics.
On top of that, Kim Tae Hoon didn’t explain to her what her position was like either.
“I have no choice if I want to survive.”
Hearing what Kim Tae Hoon said, Kate’s eyes widened and her face paled.
She looked like she was about to cry. Her big blue eyes began to well up with tears.
“If it’s to survive, then I’ll do anything I can.”
However, Kim Tae Hoon didn’t fall for her act.
Kim Tae Hoon knew that she wasn’t someone who would act like this given the situation.
The position of US Ambassador to South Korea wasn’t a simple seat that could be given to just anyone who knew a bit about politics.
It was a position responsible for responding to North Korea whose funding was provided for by China and Russia.
It was of course a dangerous place.
The ambassador was constantly under the threat of terrorist attack, kidnapping, and assassination.
“So stop with the act. A blonde haired beauty asking for help while sobbing isn’t going to work,”
If she really didn’t know what the word hostage meant, then she wasn’t qualified to be here in the first place.
Hearing that, Kate Kennedy’s countenance made a drastic change.
She let out a long sigh and mussed up her beautiful hair.
“The world really turned into a hell.”
She complained to Kim Tae Hoon.
“Fine, I’ll cooperate with you, but in exchange, guarantee my safety.”
Kim Tae Hoon replied.
“I can’t guarantee your safety, but I will try my best to keep you safe.”
“That’s an oath I was hoping to hear from my husband. So then, what do you plan to do now?”
“Move to Bucheon and pick up some items, then we’ll head to Buyeo.”
“Yes, the two of us.”
Their conversation ended there.
That was all they shared between the two of them.
A crowd of people that the Namsan Tower hadn’t seen in a long time had begun to gather.
“Careful! Be careful!”
A modified forklift was lifting a giant monster’s head from inside a truck as soldiers in military outfits helped out.
There were others looking at the scene from a distance away.
They were all wearing military uniforms, the stars on their shoulders twinkling in the light.
“Its eyes are green.”
They were the heavyweights of the current Capital Defense Command.
The one to speak up was Lieutenant General of the Capital Defense Command, Lee Hyeok.
“Green ranked monster, Twin Headed Ogre sir.”
The next to speak was Brigadier General Yoon Seokyoung.
“What if we were to compare it to the monster we killed last time?”
“There isn’t too big of a difference.”
Even Major General Lee Gisu was present.
It was a literal meeting of the stars.
“There isn’t a big difference. Is that the truth?”
There was a man who possessed less stars than everyone else, but possessed a brighter appearance than everyone else.
“Major Oh Saebum, what are your thoughts?”
Major Oh Saebum.
Oh Saebum replied to Lieutenant General Lee Hyeok with a serious expression on his face. Lieutenant General Lee Hyeok was the current commander of the Capital Defense Command and was, in fact, the absolute commander of the survivors in the capital of South Korea, Seoul.
“Yes, I believe so. There isn’t a large difference between the two.”
“It would have been simple to have just sent you, but because they gave a strange guy a chance, the situation has become much more complicated.”
Everyone kept their mouths closed as Lieutenant General Lee Hyeok finished saying his piece.
None of them wanted the responsibility to be tacked onto them.
The one to speak up at that moment was Major General Lee Gisu.
“Regardless, he’s nothing but a hunting hound. The issue is throwing him away after we’ve used him. It’s not an urgent matter, what’s more important is the Armored Infantry Unit.”
Lieutenant General Lee Hyeok nodded his head as he leave from his spot.
The other stars followed after him.
A man who had been near Oh Saebum approached the spot where the stars had left.
He was Colonel Chang Sogook of the military police.
Seeing him, Major Oh Saebum made a heavy expression.
“Colonel-nim, when are you going to take care of that punk?”
Hearing his pointed question, Colonel Chang Sogook did not respond kindly.
“Now’s not the time to worry about Kim Tae Hoon.
If we don’t deal with the Armored Infantry division, Seoul will be in great danger. The road from Gangnam to Gangbuk is blocked, but the road from the frontlines to Gangbuk is overflowing. The troops at the frontlines are a given, but the power of just the 8th Mechanized Division is more than enough to completely take over Seoul.”
“Ah, yes sir.”
In response to Colonel Chang Sogook, Major Oh Saebum spit out some angry words.
He was whining.
It didn’t suit a soldier to do so.
But despite that, Colonel Chang Sogook did not admonish Major Oh Saebum’s foolish actions.
He didn’t act like a soldier in the first place.
“Of course, it’s not something that you need to concern yourself with in the first place.
According to Mr. Mao’s letter, he should be supporting us with relics soon.”
“What kind of relics?”
“Should be grade 2 relics.”
“What is its name?”
“He called it the Jade Dragon Ancient Wine Vessel. He said he would be willing to give us other artifacts. The bird should arrive back soon. You’ll be the one to receive it when it comes.”
“That’s to be expected. Then what should we do with it then?”
“You can do whatever you want.”
Major Oh Saebum’s unsightly expression finally loosened up after he heard what the colonel said.
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