Chapter 131 - Traces of the Mask #1

Chapter 131 - Traces of the Mask #1


Park Jung-hwan looked quite different from Tae-hyuk’s memories.

As a politician of the opposition, he had the image of an upright person, no matter the angle that the photo was taken. He had neatly cropped hair 365 days a year and he always dressed conservatively.

'However, now it is a hoodie and cargo pants.’

He always wore branded products from department stores. But now, Park Jung-hwan, who insisted on luxury suits worth millions of won, wore such casual clothes...

It felt like seeing the real life of a celebrity.

‘Well, he isn’t a politician right now. This might be more natural. ‘

He had hair that wasn’t combed properly and the butt of a cigarette in his mouth. If he didn’t have the same face then Tae-hyuk really would’ve thought that he was someone else. Mister Park put the cigarette butt in the ashtray and asked.

“Did you need more Psychotropic Incense?”

Psychotropic Incense. It was the official name of the fragrance that deprived people of their reasoning. Tae-hyuk spoke with a red face, like he was embarrassed.

“These days, too many new followers are entering. I’m sorry but I used almost everything. Heheh, this time a bit more...”

He was like a subcontractor dealing with a large company’s sales department. It was true despite Cho Min-hyuk being the ruler of a cult with more than 1,000 followers. Mister Park sat down in front of Tae-hyuk and declared.

“Let’s finish this full play. Phantom.”

“Huh? What do you mean...?"

"This isn’t an interrogation. Surely you didn’t think that I wouldn’t notice?”

The grovelling expression disappeared from Cho Min-hyuk’s face. It instantly filled with derision. Tae-hyuk, who was disguised as Cho Min-hyuk, pulled out the opera mask.

“Of course, Mister Park.”

"I wanted to meet you, but I didn’t think you would want to meet me first.

The Yakuza were embedded deep in South Korean society. Their eyes and ears were everywhere. It was impossible for them not to be aware that he smashed Sun. However, it wasn’t about the cult.

Tae-hyuk's purpose was to meet with Mister Park. He just used Cho Min-hyuk as the bait. Mister Park came here to meet Phantom, not Cho Min-hyuk.

Tae-hyuk confirmed that there was no one outside the window and said.

"I guess you came by yourself.”

"The price of South Korean oil is a little bit expensive. I always use public transportation. Anyway, are you planning to kill me?”

"You must be very nervous about it. You are wearing a bulletproof vest under that hoodie.”

"Hah. Did you notice? I am a little timid. Well, it is nice to meet you. I am Mister Park.”

Tae-hyuk shook Mister Park’s hands.

Tae-hyuk activated a crime skill while holding his hand.

‘Spying!’

[The Hawk Eyes attribute has been triggered.]

It was one of that attributes of Spying that he spent 10 affinity points to gain after upgrading to a Noble. He had the ability to view the detailed ‘status’ of the other person after touching hands. He could see the name, abilities and current psychological state.

Mister Park’s name appeared in front of Tae-hyuk’s eyes.

‘...What? Park Jung-hoon? He isn’t Park Jung-hwan?!’

His profession was acting as the spokesman of the Oyabun. His intelligence was 50 points and his leadership was 63 points.

'Doesn’t Hawk Eyes kick in when holding hands... Hurry up and let me see his psychological state.’

He ignored the things that weren’t important.

[Oyabun commanded that Phantom should be brought to our side...]

Tae-hyuk arranged his confused head and spoke calmly,

"Would you like a cup of coffee? The boss seems to be a little busy, so I will make it.”

“Huhu, thank you.”

Tae-hyuk drank the coffee while thinking about Mister Park’s real name.

'Park Jung-hoon rather than Park Jung-hwan. And the same face. They must be twins.’

Park Jung-hwan, who died two years ago, eventually returned to politics. Then he was killed again after that. Park Jung-hoon, his twin brother, was the politician.

'The opponent is the Yakuza. In order words, the Yakuza will enter the political world.’

He found the last piece of the puzzle.

'Something went wrong and Park Jung-hwan was murdered. There is a high possibility that the person was associated with the Yakuza. Then they put the guilt on a guard who was near the murder scene.’

It was Seo Tae-hyuk who obtained a job as a guard after the army.

'This is the method... The true culprit is among the mafia.’

It seemed that winning the mafia game was a condition to update to King. Tae-hyuk narrowed his eyes and looked at Park Jung-hoon.

'First, they want Phantom. Isn’t it okay to check it out?’

"I don’t know the type of beans so I mixed them roughly. If it doesn’t suit your taste then tell me.”

“Haha. The taste of the coffee made by Phantom... Thank you."

Park Jung-hoon drank the coffee that looked more like Chinese medicine. Then he looked at Tae-hyuk with sharp eyes.

"I would like to speak plainly, Phantom. I would like you to join the organization."

"Do you mean to become subordinate to someone else?”

“Haha. You can think of it as a scouting proposal. We are prepared to offer one million dollars as a down payment if you want.”

“That seems a little small.”

Park Jung-hoon’s tension increased at Tae-hyuk’s words.

“Naturally that isn’t all. The organization already has a lot of Korean branches. You can become the chief of those places.”

"Doesn’t it sound like you want to use me as the face?”

"Think of it as a symbol of hope."

Tae-hyuk contemplated it for a moment before muttering,

"What will happen if I become the chief? What is my share of the profits?”

"I'm sorry, but the organization has heard of your abilities. Firstly, you will need to go to Oyabun and demonstrate them to him. Then you’ll get around 10% of the profits earned.”

10% of the profits obtained from South Korea. It was a lot of money for one person, meaning that they valued Phantom quite highly.

“It is a decent deal.”

“Haha. Of course, you are free to think about it slowly. There is still some time left before the Yakuza will start earnestly working in South Korea.”

Park Jung-hoon pulled out a business card from his wallet. It was a piece of white paper with nothing written. It was actually a memory card that looked like a business card.

"Once you connect it to a laptop, the program will automatically install. Think of it as a complex way to contact us.”

"Hrmm."

"So please get in touch. Ah right.”

Park Jung-hoon approached Tae-hyuk and whispered.

"Even if you refuse the proposal, I suggest that you refrain from touching the Yakuza. No matter how outstanding your abilities, you are just an egg. Then I am busy so I’ll go first.”

Park Jung-hoon sent Phantom a menacing smile and left the cafe.

Tae-hyuk drank the cold coffee. It tasted as terrible as its color.

Then he quietly muttered,

"I’m going to pull down that mask.”

@

Tae-hyuk couldn’t walk around in the opera mask, so he changed his face into a familiar criminal. Then he released the boss of the cafe that was tied up in the warehouse.

"Don't worry. There were no customers. Ah right, I placed the money for the coffee I drank in the register.”

"Kuoooook...”

He wanted to say something but the other person was Phantom. Tae-hyuk smiled and walked out of the cafe. He used the excuse that he was going to a language course so he still had some time left.

It was a remote place so he had to walk five minutes to get to the bus stop. He was walking down the dark road when there was a sharp scream.

“Kya, aaaack! S-S-Save me! Anyone!”

Tae-hyuk usually would’ve ignored it, but then he realized an interesting fact.

‘If they want to attack someone in such a remote place, wouldn’t they come by car or motorbike? There are no people around, so shall I test my Vehicle Theft skill?’

The crime was happening in a nearby place. After a while, Tae-hyuk would act and steal the vehicle.

‘Stealing from people committing a crime. They won’t bother to report it to the police.’

Tae-hyuk grinned wickedly as he walked towards the place where the screams were heard. Then he saw an unidentified attacker trying to hit a woman. There was a big weapon in his hand, like he wasn’t just trying to steal money.

As expected, there was a car nearby. The woman begged.

"P-Please help me... If I don’t pay these people then they will shoot me with a gun...”

Tae-hyuk sighed and scratched his head,

“Huu... Are you a foreigner?”

The woman looked at Tae-hyuk with big eyes.

She seemed to be asking why he didn’t save her immediately. She had long silver hair that went to the waist and blue eyes. Her beauty was too much to be walking these streets alone.

The girl nodded with tearful eyes.

"Yes, I am from Russia."

"I'm sorry. Shouldn’t you make this play more plausible?”

“W-What...?”

Tae-hyuk sighed and looked at the gunman trying to attack the woman, as well as the car he came in. The gunman were holding the famous Soviet submachine gun, the PPSH-41. They weren’t the newest weapons, but were a favourite among the mafia.

And...

"Who would attack someone while riding a Mercedes?”

"......"

It was also the S class that went for more than 200 million won.

"Besides, don’t you know that submachine guns aren’t common in South Korea?”

“......”

All expression disappeared from the woman’s face at Tae-hyuk’s words. Then she abruptly grabbed the gunman standing beside her.

"I told you that you should use knives, Semon.”

"But, Young Lady. At least this much is needed...”

"Have you forgotten? Our opponent is someone who fought against Big Brother. Don’t you think he can deal with these toys? Still, he didn’t do anything because he realized it.”

“Yes, I understand.”

The woman from Russia grabbed her skirt with one hand and elegantly bowed.

"Zdrastvooyte (Hello in Russian). I am Caterina Ivankov. I came to meet you.”

Tae-hyuk asked,

"Me? Why?"

"I know you are Phantom. We found out that you would be here at this time...”

“Young Lady. Stop it.”

"At any rate, the reason I came is simple. I want to have Phantom as well.”

A proposal? No matter how he looked at it, the atmosphere wasn’t romantic enough for such a thing.

Either way, it was clear that she wasn’t an ordinary foreign woman. Perhaps...

“Young lady, no, Boss. Saying such words can be misleading. I will explain on her behalf. The person standing in front of you is the handpicked successor of the Ivankov family, and one of Red Mafia’s bosses. Kataros (Caterina) Ivankov and Ivankov desperately needs your help. Won’t you help us?”

This young lady was a boss of Red Mafia? And they needed his help?

Tae-hyuk narrowed his eyes and looked at the other person.

The Yakuza and the Red Mafia. Both of them started to reach out to grab Phantom’s mask.


[TL Note: Due to the gender neutral nature of the Korean language, it was hard to tell if Kataros was male or female. However, the author also seemed to deliberately conceal her gender, implying that she was male until now.]


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