Chapter 132 - Traces of the Mask #2
Tae-hyuk brought Caterina and Semon to the previous cafe. In other words, they were entering enemy territory.
Caterina’s eyes narrowed as she saw the ‘cafe893’ sign. (TL: The name is deliberately written in lower capitals by author)
Semon looked around suspiciously, like he expected an ambush. Both of them were suspicious.
“The Yakuza are behind this shop.”
Tae-hyuk smiled as he watched the uneasy Caterina.
"Why, do you think I would sell you out? Well, doesn’t this seem surprisingly good? Won’t they give me one of the executive positions if I hand over the head of the Red Mafia?”
Caterina stretched out a hand to stop the agitated Semon from pulling out a gun.
“...Semon. If Phantom was really planning that, then he wouldn’t have spoken it out loud. Rather, that type of suggestion makes the story easier. I can promise you three times what the Yakuza offered.”
Tae-hyuk coughed and looked at Caterina.
“Really? Then I will listen to your story.”
Caterina laughed and raised a finger.
"Please look at my face now...hmm. Do you think I am just a pretty face? Actually, Semon is the real boss behind me. So please don’t talk that way.”
Caterina’s words were surprising. Tae-hyuk had been suspicious when Caterina had introduced herself as the boss of the Red Mafia. At this moment, he realized that he took her lightly.
'She definitely isn’t a normal girl.’
This was the first time he lost a psychological battle against someone.
"Don’t worry about being wiretapped. I removed all the surveillance cameras and recorders that were installed inside.”
"Then let’s talk more over a cup of coffee.”
As they opened the door, the cafe boss was mumbling something while he was counting money. It looked like he was thinking of escaping from debtors.
"Fuck~ I lost revenue due to that Phantom bastard closing my store.”
“Hey, it has been a while. I thought this place would be full of customers, but it’s already closed?”
Tae-hyuk laughed and summon an iron pipe using his Violence skill. Then he swung it at the boss’ head.
The cafe boss fell to the ground with a large sound. Tae-hyuk put the iron pipe down and clapped.
"Now that the witness is handled, we can talk as much as we want.”
“Where did you suddenly get the iron pipe from? Are you a magician?”
“Oh, this? Trade secrets. Then sit back and wait. Do you want any coffee?”
Tae-hyuk muttered as he made coffee for three people.
“Aigoo... If I knew this was the case, then I would’ve let him make the coffee before hitting him.”
As they drank the coffee that Phantom made, the three people started to talk in earnest. Caterina stirred the surface that looked like a brownie with a fork and said,
"First of all, I should explain my situation. As you can see, I'm a woman.”
"Well, you don’t have to explain that part.”
"A woman can’t become the boss of the mafia.”
"Didn’t you say you were the boss earlier?”
“That is the problem.”
Caterina was the only child of the Ivankov family’s boss. He knew that if he died, there would be a battle over who would be the boss.
"Before my father died, he declared to all the members that he would leave everything to his only child. My father was literally the symbol of Zvezda. If I was a man, then I would’ve been able to take over the Red Mafia without any problem. Even if they didn’t swear absolute loyalty to me like they did to my father, they wouldn’t be able to rebel.”
Tae-hyuk nodded with an understanding expression.
"Caterina's situation is similar to the King of Russia.”
"The Red Mafia, Zvezda is a coalition of various organizations across Russia. Of course, there are eight bosses. I can’t stop them all by myself.”
"In the end, you will die in the fight against them.”
The end of the Red Mafia that Tae-hyuk remembered wasn’t so different.
"Of the nine heads, there is only one who follows me. In such a situation, I can only do one thing.”
Tae-hyuk looked into Caterina’s eyes as she told the story. She was speaking a shameful story. They were words that couldn’t be said in front of her subordinates. Was the situation so desperate that she was telling him this?
"In other words, you have to prove that you have the ability to be the Red Mafia’s boss.”
Tae-hyuk suddenly had an epiphany.
The Red Mafia had done something in South Korea.
“Um, by the way. Was it the Reubens business?”
The Red Mafia had distributed forged artwork through South Korea. However, he had completely ruined their plans. Surely it was the work of the woman in front of him.
Caterina gazed at his opera mask with a red face.
“Huhu, I didn’t do that due to some malice. It was just a few fakes...”
“Then the damage sustained...”
Caterina was unable to bear it and raised her hand to her head.
“...Ugh. I didn’t come to talk about that business, so let’s stop talking about it. After analyzing the past events, I realized that you aren’t someone who would help a female in difficulty. You only move due to what interests you.”
“I am like that?”
"Doesn’t that mean if the conditions are right, we can cooperate with each other? I have some bad memories but I’ll forget about it.”
In fact, Tae-hyuk had inflicted one-sided damage.
‘Hrmm... The Red Mafia’s boss is rendered helpless.’
She came to see him directly so it wasn’t a simple lie.
"So you want my help for Caterina to be recognized as the Red Mafia’s boss?”
"Please, call me Anne. I don’t like that name.”
"If you like.”
"There are many who covet your abilities. Japan’s Yakuza, The Triads in China, and the violent organizations in South Korea as well. The name of Phantom is more widespread among the mafia than you think.”
"So what do you want me to do? Don’t tell me that you are planning to sacrifice the other bosses? I think it would be quicker to ask the guy standing over there. The merchant of death, Semon.”
Semon coughed as his name was called. But he didn’t come forward.
“It isn’t that simple. Even if I cut off the hydra’s heads, new ones will just grow in their place. However, there isn’t enough budget to do a new business. The only thing left for me is South Korea.”
"That is where I need your help, Phantom. You are in a conflict with the Yakuza. Right?”
“The Triads as well. Don’t you think they are too big to fight alone?”
It made a lot of sense. He didn’t want to touch the Triad unless they acted first. However, the Yakuza were different. He needed to fight them in order to obtain Yamashita’s gold and smash Mister Park.
Anne accepted it as a positive answer when Tae-hyuk didn’t reply.
"Semon and I will be your allies. You don’t need to do anything for us. Just continue fighting with the Yakuza and the Triads. Then I will be able to build nests in South Korea without them interfering.”
Then Anne, after gaining South Korea, would be recognized as the boss of the Red Mafia. Phantom would be used as a barrier to block the Yakuza and Triads.
“In other words, do you mean a non-aggression treaty? That seems to only be lucrative to you.”
"If necessary, I will support you with firearms and troops. And once the whole thing is over, I’ll make you the 10th head of hydra if you want.”
In other words, he would be the boss of the South Korean branches. Obviously, if he entered into an alliance, then he would gain the power to fight both the Yakuza and Triads. However, he needed to keep in mind that the condition for upgrading to a King was to conquer the mafia game. Could he become a King if he allied with the Red Mafia to deal with the other two?
As Tae-hyuk hesitated, Anne opened her mouth.
"If that isn’t enough, there is one thing left that I can give you. With me...”
Unfortunately, Anne didn’t finish her words. The Demon Revealing Mirror within Tae-hyuk’s clothes started vibrating violently.
A warning cry rang in his ears.
-The Spying skill has detected a danger.
-The special ability has been triggered and 20 affinity points have been reduced.
-Time remaining until the raid on cafe893.
Tae-hyuk trembled as he saw the message in front of him. It was the special feature of Spying that detected the collapse of Atlantis.
"W-What is it? A-All of a sudden, a large sound...”
Semon shrugged like he didn’t know what Anne was talking about.
“Young Lady. I’m sorry, but I heard no sound.”
"You didn’t hear that sound just now?”
There was no time to watch the argument. Meanwhile, the countdown to the attack was steadily decreasing. Fortunately, it wasn't at the level of the bomb exploding in Atlantis.
Tae-hyuk reached towards Semon.
“W-What do you mean?”
"I have no time to explain now. We are about to be attacked.”
"Nobody knows we are here... D-Don’t tell me the Yakuza...!”
Tae-hyuk raised a finger to his lips. Then he used Spying to see how many people were approaching.
"There are around 30 armed gunmen with assault rifles.”
"It is fortunate that I have a weapon, but fighting alone against 30 people...”
If Semon fought against 30 people, then his body would be riddled with holes like a honeycomb. Anne approached the window and looked out using her hand mirror. Then she murmured in a despairing voice.
“W-We are completely surrounded...”
Her eyes gazed at one of the attackers. He wasn’t wearing a mask so she could see his face. They were the Yakuza.
“...The Red Mafia. Maybe one of them didn’t want me to be recognized as boss.”
“I wonder how they knew we were here. Certainly not just anyone...”
The whole reason she came alone without bodyguards was for security reasons. But how did this place...?
While Anne was confused, the man in the opera mask approached.
He smiled and said,
"I'm sorry. Can I ask you something?”
Are any of your people out there?”
"Then it doesn’t matter if I get rid of them all?”
It was the first time Anne realized the imposing nature of the man in front of her. He was able to stand against the mafia alone.
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