“Those filthy yankees haven’t changed one bit. Them and their unending greed. Ha! Bloodsworn allies? Some bullshit they’re spouting. Arrogant bastards. They have the gall to call us allies when they obliterated an entire nation just to maintain a monopoly over the Gate?”
“How do you think the situation will develop from now?”
The man asked, and Yoo-rah pondered for a moment before she gave her answer.
“Consider our relations with the Expeditionary Forces broken. Move independently from them, but keep up a cooperative act. It’s possible they’ve already infiltrated their way in considering their cunning, which would be problematic…”
Yoo-rah grumbled, but the man didn’t seem to understand Yoo-rah’s assessment.
“Won’t it be difficult for them to avoid the eyes of the Director of Surveillance?”
Yoo-rah sighed deeply as she answered.
“The Director of Surveillance is an opponent not even I can lower my guard against. She might have full knowledge of what’s going on and just be acting oblivious. We really need to be careful. One misstep and it’ll be us being accused of everything. Seriously, we need to make just a little more progress to complete it. To think everything would get all tangled up now of all times…”
Furiously biting her lips didn’t ease Yoo-rah’s frustration. The plan’s conclusion was within arm’s distance after being in motion for such a long time. She needed to curtail the Royal Family’s power to ease the progression of their plan. They had been using their power to watch her doggedly and impeded her every move.
So she recruited a man whose mediocre abilities could not hope to match his greed. The man held onto his frustration and discontent with her and immediately joined hands with the Royal Family the instant they reached out, just as she had wanted.
But this man, whose greed was outdone only by his cowardice, complicated everything. The man wouldn’t even touch the object that had been intended for him to take out of fear that he’d be found out. Instead, he unknowingly took the most important device from the dusty corner of the storage facilities. And like a child imitating a movie’s script, he joined forces with both demons and angels to ensure his survival if he was thrown away after serving his purpose.
Yoo-rah immediately set off to recover the device, but the angels and demons had caught scent of the treasure. Yoo-rah had no choice but to face off against them, but that created a small opening that the Royal Family took advantage of to snatch the fool away. But that one-of-a-kind buffoon even threw away the device to preserve his own life instead.
The man deserved to be cut from limb to limb, but he was kept alive when they found out that the owner of this device was Joon-young. Joon-young was bound to stand on her side anyway, and she had already prepared devastating counterattacks in the scenario that the Royal Family tried to use the fool as a card against her.
But this buffoon achieved something no one could ever fathom. Yoo-rah was never aware that he had the ability to communicate with the Expeditionary Forces, nor was she aware of any communication he had with them. She found out there was more information passing through in the designated communication period than expected, and after investigating, she found out there was an encrypted message hidden inside. When they deciphered the code, it revealed this buffoon.
To think he would seek refuge by offering up Joon-young and Rivelia. She thought this man would at the very least cling onto some hostility at the culprits who had ruined their nation as same people. But this man’s disgusting selfishness sent chills to the bone.
Though Yoo-rah managed to recapture the buffoon, she couldn’t stop the Directorate of Security’s airship’s flight to the Forbidden Lands. She had prepared her compatriots for the worst case scenario as she watched the Emperor’s movement, but Joon-young managed to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
“I apologize. It’s my fault.”
“Don’t be. It’s my mistake to have only considered an individual’s abilities and not their personality. I tried to filter out what I could, but I never imagined there would still be someone who’s pro-American.”
“… We had to halt our last project just before its initiation. I don’t know about the rest, but the Director of Surveillance would most definitely have noticed something.”
“We can’t do much about it. And it’s too late to simply notice it now too. 1 year. We just need to hold out for 1 year. And Mr. Joon-young will buy us that time.”
Having listened to Yoo-rah, the man hesitated before speaking his mind.
“Can we really trust him?”
Yoo-rah looked at the man quizzically, having noticed the man’s insinuations.
“Don’t you know Mr. Joon-young better than I do?”
“What will you do if he rejects our plan?”
“This time will be different. We’ve confirmed it ourselves – that he is Sergeant Kim Joon-young.”
“That’s what worries me even more…”
He knew well, having watched him from start to finish. How his disappointment became despair, then anger, which twisted into hatred. And what remained of the man whose hatred had been evaporated through exhaustion.
“I know what you’re concerned about, but there are things that a single man cannot possibly stop. Even if Mr. Joon-young rejects our plan, it won’t matter. Once our plan is set in motion, Central will seek to kill each and every invader in the world. Mr Joon-young will be priority number zero. He’ll have no choice but to join our side if he wants to survive.”
“And if he still refuses?”
Yoo-rah smiled without a shred of hesitation and answered the man.
“It’ll be a shame, but make sure to recover the device if that’s the case.”
“I must admit, that’s not a place I’d like to visit twice.”
Isaac muttered as he set foot on the airdocks.
It seemed Isaac was still considered as somewhat of an important individual to Central. The moment they recognised all lines of communications were cut, they reacted immediately and sent tens of airships into the Forbidden Lands. From there, Isaac left the post-battle wrap-up and all the reports to Noxvil while he snatched an airship for his return.
“Are you Director Isaac, by any chance?”
Isaac, who was busy lighting his cigarette the moment he got off the airship, looked up to see where the voice came from. There stood three men: a skinny man whose hostility raged in his eyes, a man with a tiger’s head looking at him keenly, and a man with a pale, exhausted face resting on top of drooping shoulders.
Isaac nodded, and the three men immediately opened their mouths.
“I am Kiwest from the Directorate of Strategy. I have come to invite you.”
“I am Taigon from the Directorate of Surveillance. It is an honour to meet you. We will be the ones to invite you.”
“I am Katein from the Directorate of Analysis. Ah! Milady, it’s been a while!”
While the hostile man and tiger face immediately introduced themselves, that Katein fellow was quick to notice Rivelia walking to Isaac’s side, smiling at her.
“Katein? What brought you here?”
Rivelia asked with surprise, and blood seemed to rush into Katein’s face. He answered with a blush.
“I have been ordered by the Director of Analysis to take you.”
“My father did? But I’m…”
“You’re not the only one, milady. He has invited everyone in the Directorate of Security. He would like you all to attend his banquet to celebrate your legendary achievement…”
“No! We will take you instead. Director Isaac, you know of Reisha and Kunette right? They are with us at this moment. We have prepared a party to celebrate your legendary achievement.”
“Director Isaac, The Emperor is awaiting your return to congratulate you on the Directorate of Security’s accomplishment. The Directorate of Strategy will be taking you.”
“Ha! I can’t believe you can come here with a straight face when milady was endangered by your failures. I guess the Emperor’s shitting bricks right about now?”
“You dare! How dare you mock the Emperor?! You must have a death wish!”
“Now, now. Let’s leave those two stupid humans to their quarrels and come with me.”
Taigon sought to take advantage of the two’s fight, but Kiwest and Katein immediately joined forces and drove Taigon into a corner. Together, they emphasized why Isaac had to go with one of them instead.
Meanwhile, the agents of Directorate of Security exited the airship, exhausted and covered in all sorts of filth, only to be confused by the sight of a group of people fighting over who got to take Isaac. They looked to each other in puzzlement.
“Uwah… So it’s a mess here too.”
“Do you know what this is about?”
Mazelan muttered, having appeared out of nowhere. Rivelia asked Mazelan, and Mazelan answered with a shrug.
“It’s obvious. We managed to halt an invasion without any preparation with no casualties. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was an achievement of one of the preexisting three factions or combined effort from the three, but this was an achievement accomplished solely by the Directorate of Security, a completely new faction. The balance of power between the triumvirate has been shattered.”
Mazelan gave a very general explanation, but everyone understood immediately. A newly founded organisation that had the same authority as the other three managed to achieve an unprecedented victory. Their scornful opinion of the faction had dissipated, replaced by a firm desire to form an alliance with the Directorate of Security.
‘Why did the Grand Council make this decision?’
It’s likely they never expected the Directorate of Security to achieve such an overwhelming victory. But creating an organisation with the same authority no weaker than the other three destroyed the fine balance of power between the races that was held together by Analysis, Strategy and Surveillance. The Grand Council’s approval itself was not something one could understand.
Meanwhile, the debate between the three didn’t seem to have an end in sight, so Katein decided to bring in reinforcements.
“Lady Rivelia, Duke Pendleton is waiting for you!”
Rivelia flinched, but she immediately shook her head and took a step back.
“… I apologize to my father, but I am the Vice Director of Security. I will follow the Director’s orders.”
Kiwest boldly walked forward with a victorious smile.
“Sir Mazelan, the Emperor is waiting for your return.”
Mazelan too stepped back with a shrug.
“This isn’t my place to say anything you see, since I’m not even a part of the Directorate of Security…”
Isaac looked at the two, both of which had decided not to intervene, blankly, when Taigon tried to persuade him by mentioning Kunette and Reisha again. But Taigon’s own appeals were met by Kiwest and Katein’s fierce interference.
Isaac continued to smoke leisurely as the three argued next to him. After finishing his cigarette, he dropped it onto the ground, stomped on it and took out the toy he found in the Forbidden Lands.
“Ek? W, wait!”
Startled, Mazelan and Rivelia tried to stop Isaac when they noticed what was in his hands, but Isaac was quicker.
The sudden blow hit Katein’s sides, launching him into the air. After rolling on the ground, he fainted, his mouth foaming. Kiwest immediately turned to guard against the attack, but the shells hit Kiwest’s chest and pushed him back. Although he managed to keep his balance and avoid Katein’s embarrassing fate, he still collapsed onto the ground in pain. Taigon simply stood awkwardly in the middle.
“What are you doing!”
Mazelan shouted, and Isaac replied nonchalantly.
“They were too noisy.”
“Why would you try to kill them for being noisy!”
“Huh? What, did you really think I’d try to kill them? I’m just shutting them up, you see. They’re wearing the defensive coats. I would have just used words if they weren’t.”
Mazelan gulped at Isaac’s backward logic. Isaac, on the other hand, opened the barrel and reloaded his shotgun. He then spoke to Taigon, who was frozen in place.
“What was your name again?”
“Yes! My name is Taigon!”
“Yeah. Taigon, who am I?”
“You’re Sir Isaac, Director of Security!”
“That’s right. I am a Director. So why are the other Directors sending their minions to come over when I’m not one of their underlings? They should be coming to me instead if they want to see me.”
Cold sweat dripped down the silent Taigon, and Isaac placed his toy back into the coat and asked Mazelan.
“Is this the end of our visit?”
“Huh? W, well yeah.”