Book 2: Chapter 65
Lee Jong-hak walked towards the west. He didn’t say anything, but Joanna and Lukas had no choice but to follow him.
“Can we trust this person?”
Joanna whispered in a soft voice. Lukas looked at Lee Jong-hak’s back for a moment before responding to her.
“The Human Dragon, Lee Jong-hak, is a man of great character.”
“Have you met him before?”
“Then that’s just a rumor.”
Joanna seemed a bit apprehensive.
Not long afterwards, Lee Jong-hak stopped walking. He was standing in front of an angel statue.
Maybe it was because of the angle or the ominous aura that surrounded the entire city, but the angel, who was supposed to be a holy being, seemed to make the atmosphere feel even more bizarre.
“Do you know ‘The Crying Angel’?”
“…it’s fine if you don’t know.”
Joanna rubbed her forearm and shook her head.
Lee Jong-hak pressed on a corner of the statue with his foot. Then, something strange happened.
The angel statue moved slightly, revealing a hidden space beneath it.
Joanna flinched violently when the statue moved.
Without any hesitation, Lee Jong-hak entered the space below. Lukas and Joanna followed suit.
In the underground space below the statue, there was a dimly lit passage. After walking for a while, hearing only the sound of water droplets softly hitting the ground, they saw a man standing in the middle of the passage.
This man appeared to be in his mid 20s, and he didn’t seem to have any characteristics that stood out. Except for the fact that he wore dark sunglasses in this dark space.
The man looked at Lee Jong-hak and spoke.
“You came earlier than we expected.”
“Kaisa, so it was your turn today.”
Lee Jong-hak sighed before he said, “There’s work to do.”
The man named Kaisa then turned to look at Lukas and Joanna with surprise.
“Who are the people behind you?”
“They’re hunters from North America and Europe. They almost got involved in all of this.”
“Looks like something happened… Let’s go to the hideout and talk. It’s still dangerous here.”
After saying that, Kaisa turned around first. And it was at that moment when Joanna was surprised to see a tattoo on his right arm.
When Joanna started drawing upon her mana with a suspicious expression, Kaisa waved his hand.
“I know what you’re thinking, but it’s a misunderstanding.”
“What misunderstanding?! How could you say that…”
“Please trust us.”
It was Lee Jong-hak.
He looked into Joanna’s eyes and spoke with a calm voice.
“I know this isn’t really a good time to say something like this, but I swear. I have no intention of hurting you.”
When Joanna still didn’t let down her guard, Lukas had no choice but to speak up.
“Let’s listen to them for now. If he wanted to kill us, he would have made a move earlier when he was dealing with those hunters.”
Joanna reluctantly released her mana. This sight caused Lee Jong-hak’s eyes to shine slightly as he turned to look at Lukas.
Perhaps it was because of the fact that he had not lost his calm even once despite the ever-changing situation.
Perhaps it was his ability to calm down Joanna, who seemed to be quite stubborn.
Or perhaps it was both, but the latter had more traction.
Lukas was well aware that he was viewed either as Joanna’s manager or subordinate.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t a good thing to attract Lee Jong-hak’s attention. Though unlikely, it was still possible that he would realise who he was.
Lukas decided to be more careful from now on.
Lee Jong-hak soon retracted his gaze and followed Kaisa.
This underground passage was probably a part of a sewer system. But since it didn’t smell bad, it probably hadn’t been used yet.
It was hard to tell how long they’d been walking in the tunnel, but after a while, they reached a large iron door.
Kaisa, who was at the front, knocked on the door.
The door slowly opened with a loud noise, revealing a large space within.
There were also quite a number of people within the room. About 20 or so.
They were either sitting on boxes and talking to each other or exercising and training.
Then a man approached them.
“Lee Jong-hak, you’re early.”
It was a middle-aged man whose short white hair contrasted with his dark skin.
Joanna looked up at him, and her mouth fell open subconsciously.
This man was three times larger than the average adult male. In particular, the muscles on his upper body were so large they appeared as though they would tear through his shirt at any moment.
He gave off a ferocious aura, like a mafia boss with thousands of subordinates.
‘…no. This man is really…’
Joanna’s eyes drifted down to look at the man’s right forearm. There, she saw five suns overlapping on each other. As far as she knew, there was only one person in the entire organisation who was allowed to have five suns.
The big boss of the organisation, Elijah Kipatosh.
Lee Jong-hak bowed his head to him.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Elijah. Our plan failed.”
“No. I prefer to do it this way. I didn’t feel very comfortable sending you in alone from the start.”
Elijah spoke with a strangely soothing voice. For a moment, Joanna forgot that this man was the notorious boss of the Gray Sun.
“And the young people behind you?”
“They are hunters from North America and Europe. They said they came to this land for a special mission.”
“Hmmm. Their timing is rather poor.”
Elijah chuckled before he turned to look at them.
“You must have come here using a Warp Portal. Which facility did you use?”
“The Congo Branch.”
When Lukas responded, Joanna turned to look at him. It seemed she was unsure whether it was wise to reveal that information or not.
“That’s Destin’s territory.”
Elijah took a large cigar from his pocket before lighting it.
“I know what you might think about the Gray Sun. But I’ll tell you now that most of that information is false.”
“Right. We’re not a mafia or criminal organisation.”
“Then what are you?”
Elijah stroked his dark beard.
* * *
“I apologize for the lack of hospitality.”
Joanna sat on a box and responded in a casual manner.
This group claimed that they bore no hostility, but she couldn’t trust them so easily. It wouldn’t be strange if their attitudes suddenly changed and they threatened them.
Nevertheless, Joanna appeared indifferent despite this.
This attitude was very important in situations like this. There was no rule that said because they were comrades now and they couldn’t be enemies later. And in such an ambiguous relationship, it was best to stand your ground.
The pressure exuded by Elijah Kipatosh’s entire body was incredible. Lukas could tell he was no weaker than Lee Jong-hak.
As for the men and women who sat around them? Each of them had a tattoo of three overlapping suns on their forearm. According to Joanna, these were Gray Sun executives, and each of them was equivalent to a Titled Hunter.
And there was also Lee Jong-hak, who led them there. No matter how they looked at it, there weren’t many who could take on such a group.
This group’s attention was mostly on Joanna. Not just because she was from North America but because she was also a world famous hunter.
This was a good thing for Lukas. Thanks to that, he was able to look around and observe this group with ease.
“Did you come to Africa for a confidential mission?”
“Yes. So I can’t tell you.”
“Hmm… no matter what?”
Elijah had a solemn expression on his face.
Joanna clenched her fist, which was hidden beneath the table, as she felt pressure in her stomach.
‘He’s such a tough old man.’
She wasn’t sure how strong he was, but she was sure that he was very formidable. Those huge muscles were definitely not for decoration.
That wasn’t all. He also had a piercing pair of eyes in conjunction with his hideous size. As soon as she met his eyes, she felt that he could see all of her secrets.
Nevertheless, Joanna didn’t look away. In fact, she steeled her resolve under the pressure.
She could not back down.
Because she was the next Great Wizard who had been chosen by the Great Mage.
Elijah looked at Joanna with interest before bursting into laughter.
“Joanna Goldberg. I heard you were a disgrace to North America, but it seems the truth can only be revealed when seeing something for yourself.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Elijah seemed even more pleased when Joanna responded in a calm voice.
Then, when Kaisa, who was standing beside him, coughed lightly, he finally stopped laughing.
“Fine. You must have some guts to step foot in this land. Apart from that, I don’t think you are reinforcements since you don’t seem to know anything about the situation.”
“North America ignored our request for assistance for 10 years. There’s no way that psycho would send reinforcements now.”
This was said by a young woman sitting on the right. She spoke in a cold voice that didn’t match her soft features. On top of that, her hostility towards Joanna was obvious.
Joanna was never the type to take such things lightly.
“Psycho? You’re not talking about President Neil, are you?”
“What if I am?”
“I’d make you pay the price for running your mouth.”
Just as the woman sneered and was about to say something, Elijah lifted his hand.
“That’s enough, Camilla.”
The woman named Camilla bowed her head, her dissatisfaction clear on her face.
“Will you forgive my subordinate’s rudeness?”
“There won’t be a second time.”
Camilla frowned at her attitude, but she didn’t open her mouth again.
“Thank you. Still, it might be better if you hid the fact that you’re from North America. Camilla isn’t the only one who would react in such a way.”
Joanna didn’t respond.
Elijah smiled and took a drag from his cigar.
In one breath, half of the cigar was burnt away, dense smoke then flowing from his nostrils.
“Kaisa, those things you captured during your last mission, are they still alive?”
“One should still be alive.”
“Good. Bring it here. They would understand it easier if we let them see for themselves.”
Kaisa nodded and left the room.”
Noticing the unusual atmosphere, Joanna spoke.
“What are you going to show us?”
“The situation in Africa can’t be summed up with one word. So it would be easier to understand if you were to see it with your own eyes. Is there a Chinese proverb that’s suitable for this situation, Lee Jong-hak?”
“Seeing something once is better than hearing about it a hundred times. Doing something once is better than seeing it a hundred times.” (TL: T~T)
“Right, that’s it.”
Kaisa returned almost at the same time.
He was pulling a cart, on top of which sat a steel cage. It was a large and secure cage that would usually be used to transport fierce animals.
However, Lukas’ expression became strange when he saw what was inside.
What was trapped in the cage wasn’t some ferocious beast. Instead, it was a small boy who looked like he would have a hard time harming a single bug.
The boy was so motionless that he appeared to be a doll at first, and he looked at the humans outside the cage with an expressionless face.
Joanna’s expression became one of disgust and loathing.
“Is this what you wanted to show me?”
“Right. How is it?”
“…it’s disgusting. I’m not sure what your goal is. All I can see is you treating a fellow human like an animal.”
The boy’s limbs were covered in large chains, and there was a collar around his neck. He was also covered in dirt. It was clear that he hadn’t been washed in a long time. This meant that they didn’t even give this boy basic human rights.
That wasn’t all.
Joanna could see the humans who had been enslaved by the Demons in this little boy. She’d heard that the Demons who enslaved humans would also put collars on their necks.
A man on the left spoke up at that moment.
“This boy killed dozens of humans with his own hands.”
“Are you sure he’s the murderer?”
“Yes. However, if that was all, we would not have placed him in such a special cage… Kaisa.”
Kaisa nodded once before muttering in a soft voice.
The boy let out a scream of pain. The culprit was the collar. Blue sparks of electricity could be seen bouncing from it.
It was electrical torture.
The current was so strong that it brightened the surroundings for a moment.
“What the hell are you… Ah!”
Joanna’s expression became hard.
She realised that the current flowing from the collar was strong enough to instantly burn any normal person to a crisp. Nevertheless, the boy only seemed to be in pain.
Then, the boy’s face twisted in a hideous manner.
His skin also became red, and his eyes became yellow. Not only did they become yellow, but his eyes also became elongated, similar to the eyes of a reptile.
Joanna couldn’t help but open her mouth in shock at the sight.
“Is this boy a Demon?”
“Half of one.”
“Huh? What do you mean…?”
When Joanna asked this question in a confused voice, Elijah finished his cigar.
“Did I not say it properly? I’m trying to say that this boy is a mixed race.”
Elijah nodded while looking at the boy who was squirming in pain.
“They have the traits of both humans and Demons. So we call them Hybrids.”