After gently placing the bucket of water outside the door, she quietly left the room without alerting those within.
Even if it was just for a moment, she desired peace and solitude.
She took the stairs all the way to the top of the school. As soon as she opened the door, she was greeted by the vast expanse of the sky above.
It was the rooftop.
Many articles of clothing were hanging on poles on the rooftop, fluttering gently with the wind. The supernatural outbreak ravaging Pusan had changed everything. What should have been an empty roof of a school building in October was instead filled with rows after rows of clothing belonging to the forced tenants in the makeshift residential building.
“Sigh…” She gently ruffled her hair as she scanned the devastation out there. Her heart was filled with sorrow and sadness.
Are things really going to be like this for the rest of my life?
Just then, a voice spoke from the rooftop, and the door to the roof slammed shut with a resounding bang, “Are you wondering if your life is going to go on like this?”
Whoosh… A soft gale picked up out of nowhere. The leaves of the plants on the rooftop rustled anxiously, while the clothes lifted and fell. Lee Jung-sook turned around and glanced back at the rooftop. Unfortunately, she couldn’t tell if there was anyone hiding in the sea of damp clothes out there.
“Who’s there?” She took a deep breath and immediately lay prone on the ground, yet to her great surprise, she couldn’t see the feet of any single person at all!
“Do you know that you’re one of the most powerful and influential people here in Daehan…” The voice continued. It sounded like the voice of a teenager was laced with some traces of emotions, “It shouldn’t be like this… Aren’t your instincts crying out from within, vehemently rejecting the reality before your very eyes? An eagle deserves to be soaring high in the sky, and not wallowing in the mud.”
“Lee Jung-sook, Queen of Samsung, a pillar of the Daehan economy. Even the president of Daehan has no choice but to defer to your decisions. Say the word, and there’s nothing you cannot obtain here in Daehan. Everything will be prepared for you on your desk so long as you give your instructions…”
“In fact, apart from a select few who are there just in name to receive nominal profits, most of the directors in Samsung who matter are all people under your charge. Having accomplished so much in life, how can you possibly stoop so low and languish around these parts?”
Lee Jung-sook clutched at her head.
It was throbbing with pain.
Waves of stabbing pain surged through her mind, filling her mind instantly with countless images. Her mind was filled with a lady just like her, and yet clearly wasn’t her right now.
She was dressed in ancient Cathayan garments, and then decked out in Cathayan garments from the early 1900’s. And then, she even wore the uniform of a modern-day waitress… Image after image surfaced in her mind in the tidal wave of memories that crashed into reality.
“Haaa…” Finally, with a deep sigh, she raised her hands and looked at the tattoos etched on her arms.
Then, ignoring the possibility that there could be someone else around, she shed every piece of article from her body and revealed her bare body, where she proceeded to run her finger along each and every tattoo etched on every part of her body. The faint glow of the sunset cast a brilliant sheen along the perfect lines of her body, almost as though they were accentuating the splendour of a goddess on earth.
Whoosh… The breeze gently tousled her hair, revealing the expression of mild bitterness on her face right now. The floodgates of her memories had been opened.
“Do you remember it now? Two months ago, Black Yaksha and Crow Tengu ravaged Martial City in Cathay. The situation was critical, and you decided to pull the trigger on yourself in order to preserve your dignity.”
“You are a proud woman… and rightly so! You should never be content with your life right now!”
“Pick up the phone and dial the number you remember. You will see Samsung Group and your diehard loyalists celebrate your return. You’ll even see Pusan change because of your presence!”
These final statements were like bolts of lightning that struck deep into Lee Jung-sook’s mind. She clutched her head in pain and collapsed to her knees. At once, her face was filled with all sorts of expressions, flowing from indecision, to confusion, anguish, and then finally… determination.
Whoosh… The howling wind stopped, and her fluttering hair gently rested on her shoulders once more as she opened her eyes.
That’s right… I remember now. I’m… Lee Jung-sook…
This is a name that ordinary humans would never have heard of, but I hold far more power and influence than anyone could ever imagine…
I’ve died, but I’ve come back to life again… That’s right, I’m a person who transcends the limits of life and death itself…
I’ve been looking for a way to die all this while… And these here on my body aren’t tattoos… They’re…
The important memories accrued over the past 700 years!
She finally stood up.
She was still the very same person, but the fierce look in her eyes and the aura about her was completely different.
She stood right on the rooftop with elegance and dignity befitting of one standing atop the masses below.
“Qin Ye?” She smiled, “It’s you?”
A gentle breeze swept by, and Qin Ye picked up an article of clothing and walked right over. Yin energy was flowing from his seven apertures, but there was clearly a smile on his face, “It’s been a while. How have you been?”
“Fine.” Lee Jung-sook smiled faintly, just like a beautiful orchid blooming at midnight. There wasn’t much fragrance to speak about, but it clearly bore a trace of otherworldly seductiveness about it.
Qin Ye quipped, “How did you know it was me?”
Lee Jung-sook smiled, “You spoke to me in Cathayan.”
Lee Jung-sook elegantly swept her hair back behind her ears, “Of course not. When I prayed to Lord Ksitigarbha earlier, he once mentioned that you and I were… very compatible with each other. I roughly understood what he meant. He was talking about your mentality - the solitude that comes with the inability to die. There are many men suffering from deep inferiority complex who would come to Daehan to jolt me back to my senses. But there’s only one Emissary of Hell who would come to these parts to do the same.”
“Even then, I hope you won’t misunderstand the relationship between us.” She casually tidied up her appearances. She was clearly wearing cheap clothing, but her dignity and poise gave it an air of elegance about it, “We’re nothing more than kindred spirits by virtue of our uniqueness.”
Qin Ye smiled back, “Naturally. We’ve both clearly moved well beyond the stage of passion and lust. I’d come over only because… it cannot bear to see a kindred spirit suffer like that. Besides, I still owe you one for saving my life back during the Hungry Ghost Festival.”
He paused for a moment, and then supplemented, “The only kindred spirit.”
“That’s it?” Lee Jung-sook smiled mischievously.
“Cough… About that… well, there’s also a little favour that I might need to ask of you…”
Qin Ye proceeded to explain the current state of affairs here in Daehan.
“Let’s be frank and forthright with each other.” Lee Jung-sook hooked her finger at Qin Ye, “I don’t think that we’ll become enemies in future, nor do I have the intention of making an enemy of you. In fact, my intuition tells me that there will only be more opportunities for collaboration and cooperation between us in future.”
Qin Ye walked over with a light cough.
Lee Jung-sook’s expressions stiffened, “Stay three meters away from me.”
Qin Ye glared at her, and then turned to look at her hooked finger.
You asked me to worship you, and I’ve submitted and complied accordingly. So what do you mean by this?
“Phone.” Lee Jung-sook sighed.
“Ohh… the phone…” Qin Ye blushed, unlocked his cell phone and immediately tossed it over to her.
“Samsung?” Lee Jung-sook glanced at him and smiled radiantly as she dialed a number and switched on the speakerphone.
Seconds later, someone answered the phone from the other end, “Hello, this is Mr Ahn’s secretary. May I know who you’re looking for?”
“It’s me.” Lee Jung-sook’s voice was terrifyingly calm and placid, so much so that it even made Qin Ye doubt the events that had happened over the last two months.
At once, the lady on the other end of the phone paused for a moment, and then immediately spoke with an undeniably respectful voice, “Lee… A-are you really Ms Lee?!”
“Yes.” Lee Jung-sook’s response was brief and concise, “Put Ahn Dong-wook on the line immediately.”
Five seconds later, an equally excited voice spoke from the other end of the line, “Ms Lee… Ms Lee, you’re finally back! This is excellent!”
“Do you know how much turmoil the Samsung board has been in since your absence?! The direct descendants of the Lee family--...”
“There’s no hurry.” Lee Jung-sook interrupted him placidly, “Let them stir up all the trouble they want for now. Besides, I’m currently in Pusan’s Geumjeong District.”
“Why are you--...”
“Personal matters.” Lee Jung-sook responded curtly, “I need you to do a few things for me now.”
“Firstly, inform the people in charge of Pusan that I’m here.”
“Secondly, conceal any news about my whereabouts for now. I’ll personally take care of all these troublemakers when I return.”
“Thirdly, protect and secure all of my strongholds at once. At the same time, notify all of our personnel in Cheongwadae that I’ll need all the information relating to the MV Sewol incident as well as the Pusan incident, pronto.”
“Yes.” Ahn Dong-wook grew silent for several moments, before finally whispering back, “Ms Lee, your first and second orders wouldn’t be any issues, but the third… pertains to top secret information.”
Lee Jung-sook smiled, “Director Ahn, I believe in your resourcefulness, mm?”
“Understood…” Ahn Dong-wook drew a deep breath, “Are there any more orders?”
“That’s all.” Lee Jung-sook promptly hung up the phone and dialed a second number, “Sylow, have your men come pick me up from Pusan’s infected zone at Geumjeong District right away.”
“Ms Lee?” The voice on the other end of the line was ostensibly surprised, “What… what are you doing in the infected zone?”
Lee Jung-sook snorted, “That’s none of your business. Since when do mercenaries probe into their client’s affairs? Your customer service is worsening.”
“Yes… Understood, Ms Lee. Then… by ‘our men’, do you mean all of us?”
“Yes. Head over to the Usonian military base in Hanyang, and I’ll make the arrangements to grant you permission to fly. I expect to see you all here in 90 minutes tops.”
With that, Lee Jung-sook hung up the phone and dialed a third number, “Kim Tae-ji, it’s me.”
“Ms… Ms Lee?!” Kin Tae-ji was clearly startled by Lee Jung-sook’s voice, “You--...”
“I’m now in one of Pusan’s infected zones at Geumjeong District. Immediately get in touch with the Pusan military and have the soldiers stationed here protect me with the highest level of security. Meanwhile, someone will soon be heading to the Usonian military base in Hanyang. Tell them to grant permission to fly so that they can make their way over to the infected zone for evacuation. Meanwhile, sound the emergency alert within the infected zones and clear these areas of all cultivators.”
She proceeded to make a series of a dozen or so other phone calls before finally tossing the scalding hot cell phone back to Qin Ye, “Thanks.”
“Lee Jung-sook… LEE JUNG-SOOK!!” Just then, an angry lady’s voice resounded from the bottom of the stairs, “You shameless hag! Did you run off to seduce other men again?!”
“I give you three minutes! If you don’t show up in three minutes’ time, then don’t ever think of showing up before me ever again! The Lee family doesn’t raise idle good-for-nothings like you!”
Qin Ye raised his eyebrows, pointed at the stairs and shrugged.
“Don’t worry.” Lee Jung-sook revealed a frigid smile, “I, for one, have never been one to repay evil with good.”
“After all… if I repay evil with good, then where is the justice to those who do good?”
“Are you going to kill them?” Qin Ye was clearly taken aback.
“Not really.” Lee Jung-sook sighed softly as she glanced at the darkening skies in the distance, “Sometimes… death is but a reprieve…”
“What do you think about this - I’ll build two special huts to lock them up for twenty years, before releasing them back to where they had come from. Of course, I’ll see to it that they will be well fed with food and drinks, but… they won’t be able to see each other, and they won’t have access to any entertainment facilities.”
Qin Ye gasped.
Sister… Are you ruthless, or are you ruthless?Previous Chapter Next Chapter