Chapter 106: Pieces of the Puzzle #3
It took no more than three days for Tae-hyuk to become famous among the Korean inmates. Today, he was drinking coffee with a prisoner who was as thin as an anchovy while listening to a hidden story of Blue Dragon.
"Saturday is the day when you should be most careful. The guards’ nerves are tight since they are on duty on the weekend.”
"I see. Please tell me more about the nature of the guards.”
“I understand. Guard Kim Chang-su... Ah, he is the smiling one who always smooths back his balding hair.
"I know who he is.”
"He is particularly sensitive about the hygiene inside the cell, so it is good to be careful about cleanliness when he is on duty.”
No information was too trivial. As Tae-hyuk showed interest, Anchovy became more excited and started telling more stories. He heard a married guard talking on the phone, etc. He told Tae-hyuk all sorts of trivial matters regarding the prison guards.
After hearing all of Anchovy’s stories, Tae-hyuk made a simple evaluation.
"I’d prefer a bit more detail.”
“Don’t you like it? Still, can I have some settlement?”
Anchovy smiled and rubbed his palms together. Tae-hyuk pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket.
"Oh, isn’t this foreign tobacco?”
Most of the cigarettes circulating Blue Dragon Prison were paper cigarettes, which were made with thin paper and domestic tobacco. There was no taste and the cigarette was so compressed that it felt like one was sucking poison. However, the volume was small so not much could be smuggled. It became harder to get, so other methods were used to increase the quantity.
The cigarettes would be mixed with tea leaves at the kiosks. At the beginning of admission, the ratio was 1:1. However, as smuggling became harder, the ratio of tobacco decreased. Recently, they were able to produce 10 cigarettes from one. Of course, it didn’t have any taste, but it was better than nothing.
After a long time, it was possible to smoke a cigarette.
"Do you smoke that fake cigarette? It is like putting steak into a blender and turning it into porridge. Like dog food.”
Despite his words, Anchovy reached out towards Tae-hyuk’s cigarette. Tae-hyuk hit the back of Anchovy’s hand.
"I can’t you one pack just on your previous stories.”
He slowly pulled out a cigarette from the pack and placed it in Anchovy’s hand. Joy filled Anchovy’s eyes as the cigarettes piled up on his palm. In the end, seven cigarettes were given to Anchovy. He brought a cigarette to his nose and sniffed.
He pulled a battery from his pocket. In the prison, matches and lighters were forbidden. They had to use a battery in order to light a fire.
"It is necessary to use tricks to light a fire.”
Anchovy extended the spring of a ballpoint pen and connected it to the anode of the battery. It started to generate heat. He carefully brought the end of the cigarette to the spring and sucked in several times. Smoke rose and the cigarette caught on fire.
“Hah... That is fantastic. Cheol-su. Can’t you give me one more?”
"If you tell me a fun story then I will give you a lot.”
Anchovy groaned because he had run out of things.
Tae-hyuk realized that the fish had started to bite the bait.
‘In the beginning, I would give a pack for minor things. However, I’ve gradually reduced the amount to 10 cigarettes for most stories. Then what will happen?’
The answer was to tell a secret story that couldn’t be told to outsiders. Even if they felt reluctant at first, they couldn’t endure the sweet temptation of foreign cigarettes.
"Don't worry. I’ll won’t tell anyone else what you told me.”
These words ended the indecision. Anchovy started to tell an even more secret story.
“…These days, the attitude of those Japanese bastards seem strange. They seem to be hiding something. They are always confident because they have connections to Japan’s Yakuza and they smoke too much. So, there are a lot of people who look at them badly... It exploded a few days ago and an incident occurred.”
The trigger was trivial.
A Japanese prisoner eating in the dining room was accidentally hit by the plate of a Korean. As a result, the kimchi soup covered the clothes of the prisoner.
“…Rather than apologizing, he provoked the Japanese bastard by saying that his clothes were beautifully dyed red like blood. In the end, other people gathered to fight. However, it was all the Koreans who ended up in solitary confinement.”
Tae-hyuk’s eyes shone. It felt like he had found a piece of the puzzle. Japanese criminals were associated with the Yakuza, and the guards gave them privileges.
‘If I find one more piece, I think I will complete something big.’
First, he decided to be satisfied with this much.
"But the person who was taken was the leader of the Koreans, Shin Chang-ho. In the end, he couldn’t bear it and is preparing for war with those Japanese bastards.”
Those trapped in confined spaces like prisons couldn’t relieve their stress or overcome their dark feelings. It wasn’t uncommon for fights to occur between prisoners or for them to riot against the guards, especially in Blue Dragon Prison, where all the terrible criminals were gathered. Tae-hyuk remembered that big and small rebellions took place every year in the 10 years he was here.
‘It is almost like an annual event.’
"Shin Chang-ho. It was a very pleasant story."
Tae-hyuk handed a whole pack of cigarettes to Anchovy.
“Cheol-su, thank you.”
"Come again if you have more interesting stories.”
Anchovy disappeared with the cigarettes like a miner who struck gold.
"Little by little, the pieces will fall.”
In no time, his 20 packs of cigarettes had almost run out. It was time for a restock.
"Fuck, I’m not a goat! Why is there only grass!”
“You are on a diet. If you don’t let it then don’t eat.”
"Ah, that’s not it. This is fine.”
The worker in charge of the food was arguing with a big person. The big person was grumbling about the distribution of the food.
"Sheesh, he could spare a chicken leg.”
Tae-hyuk, who was waiting for his turn, approached the worker and said,
“I need more cigarettes.”
“Already? How bad is your habit to go through 20 packs?”
"Are you selling? Or not selling?”
"Of course, I am selling. Ohuhu. 20 packs again?’
"This time I want 40 packs.”
"Don’t even think about raising the price just because I am buying a lot.”
It was natural. It was 100,000 won for one pack, which was a huge rip-off. The worker’s voice trembled.
"Then it will be four million won in total. Do you have that money?”
Tae-hyuk handed over a thick envelope under the tray. Once again, it was paid in advance. The worker’s eyes changed. It was a tremendous amount of money.
"But clearly the limit is two million won. How did you get such a large sum? Do you have a great banker?”
"That is a large sum so make sure that everything is ready.”
"Ah, okay. Tell me if you need anything else.”
Cigarettes could move ordinary prisoners. It was something that he could spend money on. Right now, Tae-hyuk’s bankbook contained a huge amount of 200 million. He didn’t mind investing all of this money to gain gold bullions worth billions of won.
There were two reasons why Tae-hyuk purchased cigarettes. The cigarettes were bait to get information from prisoners. Right now, they were only miscellaneous stories. Eventually, he would get secret stories, like he did with Anchovy.
It also deepened his relationship with the worker. He didn’t try to decrease the price of the cigarettes.
Once he returned to his room after finishing the meal, 40 packs were on his bed. The next day, Tae-hyuk bought 40 packs again.
“Wahh! Thank you!"
Within five days of entering the prison, Tae-hyuk had become the worker’s largest customer.
"Shin Chang-ho is collecting ironware to fight against the Japanese scum. Ah right. This will really be kept a secret?”
Tae-hyuk gave two packs of cigarettes to the other person. In the meantime, there were inmates waiting for their turn. The tacit agreement was to stand at a distance where they couldn’t hear what Tae-hyuk and the other person were saying. That way, the other prisoners couldn’t hear the story that the person was telling.
The ones who received the cigarettes always said,
"It will really be kept a secret?”
Then they would cross the building with an expression like they had the whole world in their hands. Once Tae-hyuk checked the time, exercise time was almost ending.
Tae-hyuk stood up and said,
"I'm sorry but business will end here for today. If anyone else has a story then tell me at dinner.”
Sighs were heard from some places.
"Isn’t this too competitive?”
“Damn. It has been a few days already and I feel like I’m going to collapse!”
Tae-hyuk ignored them and approached the worker cleaning the corner of the yard. It was a person he was familiar with, thanks to seeing him for the three meals a day. He was also responsible for trading more than just cigarettes.
As Tae-hyuk approached, the worker smiled and said,
"Would you like to buy cigarettes again?”
"I need something other than cigarettes.”
"Sketchpad and pencil. My hobby is drawing.”
"Hah. With that face? At any rate, you can buy it at the store.”
"No, I need one with a spring.”
The store inside the prison didn’t sell anything that could be a weapon. The springs on the sketchpad were made of iron, and could be used as a weapon to choke someone. Because of that, only pages were sold at the store.
"I don’t know why you need it, but if you give me money, I will sell it.”
"I will give 200,000 won.”
It wasn’t a weapon like a knife or something sharp, so the worker sighed with relief. A spring was much less risky.
'My stomach is at its limit. I need to take this out as quickly as possible.’
He would prefer to have cutlery or glass, which would make it easier to take out the things in his belly. However, more time was needed to get things like that. Even though it was dirtier, he decided to take it out of his stomach with a pencil.
Tae-hyuk gave money to the worker who said,
“…Once you go to bed this evening, it will be there.”
"Then I will contact you again.”
After dinner, the sketchpad and pencil were under his bed. He put the pencil in a pencil sharpener and sharpened it by turning it. Yoo Cheol-ho, who was lying on the top bed, extended his head and said.
“Newbie. These days, you often get things delivered to this room. What are you hiding?”
"Are we lovers? What does it matter what I hide?”
“Cough. At any rate, I like you because you sleep very well during the night. Ohuhu.”
Tae-hyuk deliberately pretended not to know that Yoo Cheol-ho was digging a tunnel every night and acted like he was deeply asleep. Yoo Cheol-ho even confirmed the state of Tae-hyuk’s pupils using a LED light that he obtained somewhere. Usually, a person wouldn’t be able to control the movement of their pupils when pretending to sleep. However, Tae-hyuk had the Counterfeit skill and it was easy enough to produce a sleeping face.
“Really? Last time you slept really well.”
Tae-hyuk swung the hidden iron pipe at Yoo Cheol-ho’s head.
Once again, he fell unconscious.
“Tsk tsk. Then I will start.”
Tae-hyuk rolled his blanket and put it in his mouth. Now his screams wouldn’t leak out.
'First, sharpen the pencil as much as possible.’
He made a sharp awl using the pencil sharpener. Then he pulled off the spring from the sketchpad and connected it to the end of the pencil. All the preparations were finished.
Tae-hyuk used the crime skill. Then Tae-hyuk’s right arm moved at a tremendous speed and the pencil tip pierced his belly.
There was a creepy sound and blood splattered everywhere. There was also enormous pain. The sky was spinning and he almost lost consciousness.
'Damn, this really hurts.’
If he had a knife then he could do it so that the important parts weren’t hurt. However, he couldn’t do such a careful operation because he was focused on not breaking the pencil lead. Blood constantly flowed from Tae-hyuk’s belly. It would be dangerous if he dragged this out for a long time.
Finish it as quickly as possible!
Tae-hyuk clenched his teeth and slid the pencil to the other side of his belly. Then the spring at the end entered the belly sideways.
‘Now it is time to finish this!’
Tae-hyuk grabbed the end of the spring tightly and moved his hands.
There was a strange sound as the spring inside Tae-hyuk’s belly started to gradually come out. At the same time, Tae-hyuk’s belly split apart.
His intestines emerged from the completely cut stomach.
“Heok... Kuheok... Heok!"
‘I-It's a success...’
He succeeded even without anesthesia. He did it with a pencil and spring. However, the most important thing still remained. Tae-hyuk put his hand in his stomach and found the silicone pack kept near there.
“Kuoock, keeeok, kuaack!”
Muffled screams emerged from his mouth. If it wasn’t for the cloth blocking his mouth, then it wouldn’t be strange for the guards to immediately come running. However, he was able to safely retrieve what he was looking for.
Tae-hyuk’s stomach contained the Demon Revealing Mirror and silicone bag. It was the only way to bring in a mirror from the outside.
‘I can’t lose my mind here!’
Tae-hyuk manipulated the screen of the Demon Revealing Mirror with a trembling hand and used Cancel.
His ears rang. It felt like someone was drilling at his head. The intestines that emerged started to be sucked into his body. His sliced belly was restored, and the wound disappeared. In the blink of an eye, Tae-hyuk’s belly had returned to its original state.
Tae-hyuk pulled out the blanket blocking his mouth. There was blood and pain from where he bit his lip.
“Damn. I don’t want to experience that again...”
Fortunately, an anesthetic was ready for insertion, so it wasn’t as painful.
“...However, it is a success.”
Tae-hyuk set aside the Demon Revealing Mirror and looked at the things in the silicon pack that he just took out.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter