Qin Ye had once thought about what he was going to do when he arrived in Daehan.
The best way forward… was naturally to locate Lee Jung-sook, and then ride on the auspices of her identity.
Unfortunately, he only had one and a half months.
He would have to attend the opening ceremony of the Hanyang Underworld at the end of October, and as soon as he did, Liu Yu was sure to keep his whereabouts under close scrutiny. Naturally, he would no longer be given any latitude to carry out any investigative work once that happened.
Unfortunately, searching for a person in Daehan was as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. The best way moving forward was to concurrently learn more about casting myths and fabricating miracles while searching for Lee Jung-sook. Time was of the essence, and he couldn’t simply devote all of his time to locating Lee Jung-sook.
His thoughts began spinning rapidly at once. Unfortunately, he wasn’t given the luxury of time to craft his response, as the lady soon barked through the intercom with a deeper voice. That said, she spoke in Daeian, and nobody could understand what she was saying.
Oda Nobutada and Wang Chenghao turned to Qin Ye. Qin Ye paused for a moment, and then responded calmly in English, “We… represent Miss Lee.”
What the hell are you trying to do?
Wang Chenghao stared at Qin Ye with consternation. Unexpectedly, Qin Ye’s response was met with silence on the part of the old lady.
It took her ten seconds to give her response, “I’ve never seen you before.”
This time, she spoke with fluent English, but with a distinct Daeian accent.
“And that’s why we’ve come.” Qin Ye immediately explained, “Miss Kim Tae-ji, kindly open the door. There’s something important we need to speak with you about.”
The intercom shut off as soon as Qin Ye finished speaking. Three seconds later, the door to the main entrance opened with a soft click.
“Brother Qin…” Wang Chenghao quipped suspiciously. At once, Qin Ye raised his finger and made a shushing noise, before turning to a source of light nearby.
“What’s that--...” Wang One Tail was clearly oblivious to his surroundings.
“A monitoring device. Quite possibly also equipped with sound capturing facilities.” Oda Nobutada explained slowly, “I’ve been familiarizing myself with modern technology, and I’ve got to say that… it’s out of this world.”
Naturally, Qin Ye had his means to get about these devices. As they walked along, his voice suddenly sounded in the ears of the other two.
“It’s only a matter of time before we’ll come into contact with the Daeian government and their equivalent of the Special Investigations Department. We’ll need to go through their records if our investigations are going to bear any fruit. That’s not an issue for us. But the problem that would arise is that our actions will certainly cause an uproar in the relevant organizations in Daehan. In all likelihood, such a stir might even trigger a response from the Hanyang Underworld…” Qin Ye explained telepathically, “Liu Yu’s underworld is desperately short of talent. He’d never allow any powerful Yin spirits to slip through his fingers if he got wind of their existence. Thus, as far as possible, it would be prudent to do all we can in order to maintain a low profile.”
“If we can get Kim Tae-ji on our side, it’ll most certainly smoothen things out here in Daehan. After all, Samsung is practically synonymous with privilege here in Daehan.”
“Secondly, she may be able to help us out in our search for Lee Jung-sook. Once she ascertains our identity, we’d be able to tap onto the multitude of resources through her position, and things would only get easier from here on forward.”
Wang Chenghao frowned, “She’s Kim Tae-ji? Are you sure she’d help us out in our search for Lee Jung-sook? How can you be so certain about people’s hearts…”
“Don’t worry.” Qin Ye smiled, “The spirit pen has told us that only Kim Tae-ji and Lee Jung-sook have access to these premises. The fact that Kim Tae-ji is the only other person to have been granted access tells us that she’s undoubtedly Lee Jung-sook’s confidante. I refuse to believe that she’s unaware of the company which Lee Jung-sook had been involved with. They’ve still got some ways to go as far as their acting is concerned. Besides, rather than saying that I trust Kim Tae-ji, I’d prefer to say that I trust Lee Jung-sook’s judgment.”
After all, how could a 700 years-old lady be swindled by a mere 70-years old infant? That’s… practically impossible.
They entered the lift, and the 24th floor immediately lit up at once.
They went straight to the top without stopping. Then, as soon as the elevator doors opened, their eyes immediately widened.
It was oozing with splendour.
The entire 24th floor was designed with an open-concept in mind. Everything was constructed with a luxurious baroque style, adorned with religious elements and gold accents that brought nobility to the elegance of the classical brown furniture. The curtains, carpets and antique chandeliers all came together to make the entire space look grand and elegant.
The exposed walls were all carved with intricate and precise patterns that were exquisite yet discreet. The wooden tables and chairs were all constructed entirely out of high-grade cherry wood or walnut wood.
A silver-haired lady sat right atop a grand sofa, holding a glass of red wine in her hand. As soon as they entered, she nodded softly at them, “Take a seat.”
As they took their seats, the lady elegantly swirled the red wine in her hand and continued casually, “The fact that you even know of this place tells me that you’re one of her trusted aides. Speak. I’ll never refuse any request so long as it is within my abilities.”
That’s a great start… Qin Ye sorted through his thoughts and organized what he had to say. He needed to have some measure of restraint while speaking with a member of the upper echelon of society. Sure, she might not be the top when it came to influence and finances, but she was still undoubtedly one of the top 200 most influential people in Daehan.
It had been approximately one month since Lee Jung-sook’s disappearance. Fortunately, Samsung hadn’t devolved into chaos just yet. After all, its firm foundation built upon decades of toil and sweat weren’t merely for show. That said, if nothing was done about the situation, the situation in Samsung would undoubtedly take a turn for the worst, despite its firm foundation..
Therefore, Qin Ye chose to burst through the doors to Kim Tae-ji’s heart with the most straightforward approach. After all, time wasn’t on his side. “Miss Lee isn’t dead.”
As soon as he said these words, Kim Tae-ji immediately looked up at once and stared at him. Her chest heaved and fell greatly with every breath she took.
It took her some time before she finally retracted her gaze and stared blankly at her own reflection in the wine glass, “Then why didn’t she contact me? And why didn’t she even preside over the monthly council meeting?”
“That’s impossible. Besides, why should I believe you?”
“The fact that you know of this place might be compelling evidence in and of itself, but that… is still insufficient. I need something more concrete; something more incontrovertible.” She set down her glass and gazed deeply at the trio, “I don’t sense the qualities of a professional bodyguard or assassin from you, so you may speak your mind. I’ll listen to what you have to say.”
What a shrewd lady… But that’s only to be expected of one who’s been navigating the treacherous waters of commercial affairs for such a long time. Besides, should I have expected anything less than that from Lee Jung-sook’s confidante? Qin Ye nodded, and then went on to deliver the second salvo of attack.
“She’s lost her memory.”
Kim Tae-ji’s head jerked up, and she stared at Qin Ye with disbelief.
Finally, the third salvo from Qin Ye completely crushed all psychological defenses in her heart.
“And by ‘loss of memory’, I mean the kind that she went through when she first arrived in Daehan decades ago.”
Clink… Kim Tae-ji accidentally knocked over her wine glass, and the scarlet liquid flowed down the surface of the solid wooden table. Even then, she appeared completely oblivious to that right now.
“She’s dead.” Qin Ye looked her straight in the eye with the gaze of a hawk, carefully scrutinizing every micro-expression she made, “But she’s still alive.”
This was one of the secrets that the top brass of Samsung had sworn to keep to themselves. Everyone seated at the top of the organization knew that Lee Jung-sook was a monster originally from Cathay. She had died once, but had returned to life, and her appearances had maintained just as young as she had always been decades ago.
Naturally, Kim Tae-ji knew exactly what Qin Ye was getting at.
“Why?” After a protracted pause, she finally shut her eyes, yet her eyelids continued to tremble softly, “I mean… she’s got bodyguards around her. Who could possibly harm her?”
She shook her head and murmured to herself, “That’s right… It’s impossible… Even the other directors in Samsung have tried making an attempt at her life, yet to no avail…”
“It was an Infernal Judge.” Qin Ye took in every bit of expression in Kim Tae-ji’s eyes. Apologies. Unfortunately, you’ve met your match today. You’re still decades away from my level of experience.
He was probing to see how much Kim Tae-ji actually understood about the supernatural. He wanted to know how far she had dabbled with matters in this regard.
This would dictate how he was going to proceed with his objectives in Daehan, and how forcefully at that!
Kim Tae-ji’s body trembled. Her psychological defenses were blown wide open!
Even though she had mentally prepared herself for some earth-shattering news, she didn’t expect her defenses to have crumbled this quickly!
Every single statement made by this man before him was more forceful and astonishing than the statement before that. And the final straw that broke the camel’s back was when he made reference to an Infernal Judge!
That’s… the term used to refer to the god of death!
“Infernal Judge?” She finally opened her eyes with great trembling.
“To be more precise, it’s two Infernal Judges.”
Kim Tae-ji grew taciturn. Moments later, she picked up another wine glass and gently poured wine into it from the carafe. Everything seemed calm and placid on the surface, yet Qin Ye could clearly tell that her knuckles were quivering slightly.
It was very subtle.
Unfortunately, not even the slightest movements could elude Qin Ye’s keen vision. He was incredibly adept at reading the contemplations of other’s hearts through the subtlest of movements. This was a skill that was almost second nature to him, after having honed it well for a hundred years.
Finally, Kim Tae-ji held up her glass of wine and asked, “What do you want me to do?”
“Look for her.” Qin Ye spoke through gritted teeth, “She’s somewhere in Daehan, but we don’t know exactly where. It’s not exactly convenient for us to be moving about overtly, but we know you’d have your means to locate Miss Lee’s whereabouts. After all… Daehan isn’t too large by any means.”
Kim Tae-ji nodded, and sighed softly, “Do you come from Cathay?”
She had a multitude of questions on her mind, but chose not to pursue those various lines of inquiry anyway. She was clearly a sensible lady who knew better than to ask too many questions.
“Give me a week.” She set down her wine glass once more and brushed her silver hair elegantly, albeit with a bitter smile, “Samsung’s already in a pickle without her around to steer the helm. I’m still counting on her to take good care of my offspring. Rest assured, I’ll have an answer for you in one week at most. How should I get in touch with you?”
Qin Ye smiled faintly, “We’ll get in touch with you again.”
Kim Tae-ji smiled and sighed with relief as she began to swirl the contents of her wine glass about once more, “This is the best news I’ve heard in recent times. Would you like a drink?”
Then, she smiled and got to her feet, “Then, is there anything else I can do for you?”
This indicated that she was now prepared to send off her guests. Qin Ye stood up as well, “I’d like to meet with Pastor Ahn Jun-ho.”
“Are they somehow involved?”
“Perhaps.” Qin Ye responded noncommittally. Since she was offering her services, why not tap on her network and resources? He wouldn’t leave any traces once he returned to Hell in any event.
“Alright. Return here tonight. I’ll make the necessary arrangements for a meeting.”
Qin Ye nodded and left without saying another word.
Kim Tae-ji remained seated right where she was.
Moments later, her eyes reddened slightly, and her breaths grew increasingly ragged. One hour later, she finally stood up, took the lift all the way down into the garage, and drove out in an inconspicuous vehicle.
She remained silent as she drove around the vicinity. Finally, she gritted her teeth, pulled out her cell phone and made a call.
“Miss Kim.” A hoarse voice spoke from the other end of the line, “Do you have a mission for us? The price is the same. Satisfaction guaranteed.”
“Yes.” Kim Tae-ji’s eyes were completely devoid of any warmth or tenderness. Instead, she bit down hard onto her lower lips as she fervently sought to suppress her ragged breaths. Several seconds later, she instructed, “I want you to send 15 people to the Daelim One Apartment tonight. I’ve got three targets for you.”
“Heh…” The hoarse voice continued, “How rare that you would personally dial for us. 200 million won. As usual, half of that is to be paid in advance, and the other half should follow as soon as we succeed. No arrears shall be condoned. If we’re unsuccessful, the latter half is waived. But… you should be aware that we’ve never missed our target once.”
Kim Tae-ji took a deep breath and stared at the traffic lights ahead, “One condition. You’ll have to leave one target alive. I’ll deal with the police.”
With that, she hung up the phone and leaned wearily down onto her steering wheel. Her vehicle had stopped right in the middle of the road.
The vehicles behind sounded their horn.
“Who in the world are you guys…” Kim Tae-ji gritted her teeth, “If you truly represent Miss Lee, then there’s no way you wouldn’t have known that Ahn Jun-ho, the priest who baptized Miss Lee some years back… has already been dead for over a decade!”
“I… cannot trust you!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter