Qin Ye didn’t bother concealing his voice. Kwon Kyung-ho, who had been listening intently all this while, finally asked with a soft tremor in his voice, “So… our deaths were all caused by Choi Tae-min… or is it Ms Park, the top brass of society at that time?”
“Is she the culprit behind it?”
Without missing a beat, he chuckled miserably, “That’s right… I should’ve known. Who else could possibly have kept everything under wraps for an entire year here in Daehan? Is there really anyone else that held such power and influence to be able to stifle the rescue efforts of the military and police alike, and even instruct the media to misinform the public, telling everyone that rescue efforts are already underway? Hah… I was born and bred in Daehan, and yet, who would’ve thought that I’d end up being used as nothing more than a sacrificial tool by the people in power here?!!”
Kwon Kyung-ho was practically hissing towards the end. At once, the surroundings were suddenly filled with the muted sound of gurgling bubbles and a sunken atmosphere.
Lee Jung-sook sighed, “You’ve been with me for so long. Other things aside, just the fact that you’d saved me back then during the Hungry Ghost Festival would alone already have justified my exacting revenge on your behalf. Unfortunately, it’s not within my means.”
Kwon Kyung-ho paused for a moment, and then responded hoarsely, “Thanks…”
“But… this is something I have to do with my own two hands!”
“There’s no hurry.” Qin Ye interjected, “It’s not necessarily Ms Park either. The cronies around her could well have been involved as well. Had I been the one pulling the strings from behind the scene, I would definitely surround Ms Park with my people as soon as I discover the connection between Choi Tae-min and the Park family. For instance, her secretaries, personal assistants, spokespersons, and so on and so forth, would all be clothed with authority as her representative to trigger the MV Sewol incident. All Ms Park needs to do is to acquiesce with a nod of approval.”
Kwon Kyung-ho smiled viciously and licked his lips, “It’s fine… I can wait…”
“All I ask is the life of the culprit behind the MV Sewol incident. I’ve already waited for five years. What’s another one short month of waiting…?”
At least the scope of culprits has now reduced to no more than 10 select individuals.
Qin Ye nodded, and finally sat down in front of the computer, where he began to browse and peruse the documents presented to him.
There were times when one didn’t need incontrovertible evidence in hand. All that was needed was sufficient basis on which to build a hypothesis, from which further evidence may be sought to verify one’s conjectures.
This wasn’t an unorthodox means to investigations. Many mystery cases since time immemorial had been resolved using such methods after all.
Qin Ye carefully scanned through the contents of the reports, while Lee Jung-sook silently observed him from behind. Eight minutes later, she piped in, “Perhaps you might be looking for the contents on page 21.”
Qin Ye immediately flipped to page 21.
These were all old photographs, and especially strange-looking ones at that.
There was a western-style coffin located right in the center of the photographs. This wasn’t unusual. After all, it wasn’t uncommon to hear of Catholics in Daehan. That said, there were various sculptures placed around the coffin, all of which were clearly unrelated to the doctrines of Catholicism. Vibrantly-coloured scripture streamers hung loosely all around the coffin.
There was also a ring of illegible incantations written in red ink in a ring around the coffin, on which sat hundreds and hundreds of ancient oil lamps.
To be more precise, these were lanterns, and each of the lanterns were illuminated with a soft… green flame.
“Is this…” Qin Ye gasped and muttered softly with great astonishment, “Soul Invocation Ritual?”
Lee Jung-sook walked right up behind him, reaching over and taking control of the mouse to zoom in on the important parts of the photograph.
She placed a hand on the back of Qin Ye’s chair, while her other hand reached over his shoulder, almost as though she were giving him a back hug. Several wisps of her hair gently brushed past Qin Ye’s cheeks like soft feathers tickling his heart. As she leaned over, Qin Ye couldn’t help but catch sight of the soft, supple complexion around her neck, as well as her beautiful collarbones.
Qin Ye’s pupils quivered slightly, and a wave of adult-rated thoughts immediately washed straight into his mind…
No, no, no… Away from me, you sinful thoughts… He shook off the lustful thoughts in his mind and sat up straight. And then… he couldn’t help but take a second glance.
Here was an exquisite beauty coveted by the men of the world, standing no more than three inches from him in an unintentionally questionable posture. The faint fragrance of alluring perfume wafted right into his nostrils, assaulting the logical faculties of his mind and sending his heart thumping wildly. In his mind, he’d already bitten down tenderly on her collarbone, licking it slightly as he inched closer and closer…
“This is an ultra-high resolution photograph. We’ll zoom in ten times…” Just then, Lee Jung-sook retracted her hand and straightened up, only to notice the look in Qin Ye’s eyes. At once, the two locked eyes for the very first time in a while.
It was incredibly awkward.
Qin Ye coughed lightly, and then swiftly turned his attention back to the screen where he pretended to be fascinated with its contents.
Lee Jung-sook smiled.
She gently caressed Qin Ye’s face, just like how a female teacher would tempt an innocent student in one of those adult-rated films… At once, the ambiguous fragrance of springtime bloomed in the air. She moved gently. Her fingers were cold to the touch, and yet it filled Qin Ye’s heart with an intense rush. He couldn’t help but gulp nervously.
Could it be that… today… I’m going to--...
A split second later, Lee Jung-sook suddenly pinched Qin Ye’s cheeks together and lifted his head forcibly as she revealed a frigid smile on her face, “Admiring something?”
The adult-rated fantasies swirling in Qin Ye’s mind instantly sank to the bottom of the ocean. Qin Ye’s heart skipped a beat, and then he immediately shook his head fervently.
Of course I’m admiring something… But how could I admit to that in the face of such an intense, life-threatening glare…
“The next time I catch you stealing glances at me with such an indecent look in your eyes, I’m gouging them out.” Lee Jung-sook released her grip around Qin Ye’s jaws and casually slumped back into the sofa, “I’ve got to say that your looks are rather baffling… Are you 16 or 18? You must have had the taisui fungus, haven’t you?”
Qin Ye’s cheeks felt somewhat numb. Traces of Lee Jung-sook’s touch continued to linger endlessly on his cheeks, and he couldn’t help but rub his cheeks as he muttered softly, “... centimeters?”
“...” Lee Jung-sook rolled her eyes, barely concealing the regret that had surfaced in her heart - Perhaps I shouldn’t have recognized this man as a kindred spirit after all… He appears to have a brain defect somewhere…
Qin Ye took the next few moments to suppress the fire that was raging in his heart, before finally turning back to the photograph in earnest.
Inch by inch, he navigated the enlarged photograph until it crossed the lanterns on the ground. And then, he suddenly paused.
The flames in the lantern… were burning with twisted and distorted faces!
All of them appeared to bear the appearances of young children, ranging from 10 to 16 years of age, and every single one of these children appeared to be screaming and crying in anguish and pain.
He scanned each and every lantern in the surrounding area, and then finally brought the focus of the hotograph back onto the coffin with a sigh, “So… the souls of the children who ended up as victims in the MV Sewol incident are all here? What in the world is inside this coffin?”
“Unfortunately, I’m unable to investigate the contents of the coffin. The loyalty of the cultists guarding this is absolutely staggering. But, according to the reports of the subsequent police investigations, the coffin was in fact… empty.” Lee Jung-sook lit a cigarette and crossed her legs, “Are you able to see anything?”
Qin Ye frowned and shook his head. Just then, Kwon Kyung-ho suddenly spoke up, “Perhaps… you should look at it without your eyes.”
Without my eyes?
Qin Ye rubbed his chin with a gleam in his eyes. At once, his eyes were filled with a scarlet hue, and Yin energy began to pour out of his body.
He knew what Kwon Kyung-ho was suggesting.
This photograph contained the appearances of so many Yin spirits that it could easily be classified as a photograph of the paranormal. Sure, the cultists might have done everything in their ability to prevent mortals from uncovering the contents of the coffin, but the hundreds of the souls whose lives had been sacrificed for the cultists’ cause would never allow it to stand! Their grievances and obsessions would manifest through any form possible!
Tell him… all about the truth of the tragedy that sank to the bottom of the sea on that fateful day…
Bzzt… As soon as Qin Ye opened his infernal eyes, the electrical lights in the tent instantly flickered wildly, and then went out completely.
Blurb… blurb… The sound of bubbles rising from underwater filled the room at once, causing Qin Ye and Lee Jung-sook to glance reflexively at Kwon Kyung-ho, “It’s… it’s not me!”
Qin Ye blinked his eyes softly, and then abruptly turned back to the screen.
The power had gone out in the room, but the computer was still working!
The photograph in the computer automatically positioned itself as though an invisible hand were manipulating the mouse. Click, click, click… It shifted and panned, until it finally landed directly on the coffin. And then… it began to magnify the photograph once more!
The maximum magnification with the software should have been ten times. However, the magnification right now went well beyond that! 12 times… 15 times… 20 times!
A split second later, the corner of the coffin… suddenly moved!
“Haaa--...” Even Lee Jung-sook couldn’t help but gasp in consternation at the peculiar series of events.
A computer coming to live in a completely dark room with all sources of power completely cut. The photograph came to life on its own, and began to move just like a slideshow. A pale hand covered with livor mortis spots pushed up the lid of the coffin and rested its hand by the side of the coffin walls!
The corpse in the coffin… was alive!
And it was moving right in the photograph!
“That’s impossible. The coffin has to be empty. My guys never make any mistakes.” Lee Jung-sook frowned and whispered to Qin Ye.
“Yes, you’re probably right…” Qin Ye squinted at the slideshow of images as he responded hoarsely, “It was indeed empty when your men checked on it…”
Lee Jung-sook sighed softly, “Are you saying that… there was a corpse in the coffin before the police investigations, and that these images are telling us what happened in the interim?”
Qin Ye nodded, “They were invoking a soul, and it apparently succeeded. It was a costly success that came at the price of hundreds of lives sacrificed through the MV Sewol incident. The corpse inside came out, and then… shut the lid of the coffin behind him.”
Kkkrrrrr… As the gap to the coffin opened up more and more, the darkened room suddenly began to echo with the wails and cries of countless ghosts.
These were the cries of teenagers and children, all of which were filled with immeasurable resentment and hatred directed at the corpse within the coffin.
“Die…” “Die, die, die, die!!!” “You deserve to die…” “Go to hell!!!”
It was spine-chilling.
Boom! The lid slid right off the edge of the coffin, and a bald man wearing a black missionary suit with a cross displayed right across his chest stepped out from within.
He was frail and thin, practically skin and bones. His body was covered with livor mortis spots, but not decaying in the slightest. He glanced at his hands in dismay, squeezed them together gently, and then sighed softly.
Meanwhile, the chorus of ghastly cries around him escalated to its climax. Qin Ye’s heart skipped a beat. He thought of a possibility, and he promptly turned to Lee Jung-sook, seeking verification.
“Choi Tae-min.” Lee Jung-sook shook her head in exclamation, “The dead has indeed come back to life… He’s undoubtedly Choi Tae-min… I’ve seen him before…”
It’s actually him!
There was no fear in Qin Ye’s heart. Instead, he was stirring with excitement.
My conjectures are right… Arturo’s script of death has been designed around the cult leader, Choi Tae-min, the cause of the MV Sewol incident, the Train to Pusan incident, and close-knit relationship between Ms Park and Choi Soon-sil… To think that he was actually resurrected through the MV Sewol tragedy five years ago!
That said, Qin Ye knew full well that a proper resurrection from death to life was impossible because it would run counter to the way of the Heavenly Dao and the rules of the world. In other words, the Choi Tae-min that had ‘come back to life’ was undoubtedly an evil ghost, or a monstrosity in his own right!
And as he had predicted, such a monstrosity would serve as the perfect villain for the emergence of the hero!Previous Chapter Next Chapter