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Chapter 112

 

I had been looking at the monitor for two days, and I was near my limit. My eyes were heavy with eye-strain as the English words and numbers swam in my brain. I had not slept a wink since I returned to Seoul, and I stretched before looking at the monitor again.

 

“I have to prepare this as quickly as possible…”

Two markets will skyrocket after the Dot-com crash until 2008. While there may be changes in timing and fluctuations, I thought that the main sequence of events will remain the same. Real estate and oil will rise beyond reason, and it was taking time to write the investment proposal because while I could easily explain why the real estate market would boom, to explain the massive growth in the oil market I needed to mention 9.11 and the Iraq War. How could I do that in January 2000 when even the CIA was rumored to have only known about possible terror threats in August 2001?

9.11 changed America even more than the Day of Advent. At the beginning of the latter, only low ranked monsters had swarmed out of the gates, which gave the appearance that things were manageable. While humanity had been shocked at experiencing a global alien attack, the situation seemed to be containable. People focused on the mechanism of gates more, as they wanted to know how such a rip in time and space could happen, and how to prevent them.

I was still curious about why monsters attacked so stupidly at the beginning, sending out their weakest forces first, accomplishing no strategic objectives EXCEPT alerting their target (Earth). If there was an intelligence behind the Day of Advent, they obviously flunked Strategy and Tactics school. Still, the important thing was, terrorism took down the Global and American economies with a single attack. I could not write about such factors into my Investment Proposal even as firm secrets.  I could not even hint about it as a hypothetical.  If America even suspected I knew the details of 9.11 before it happened, they would kill us all in an instant. I started over again…

 

**

I needed an investment proposal that could be trusted by Jillian, Jessica, and Brian. This long-term proposal would cover and guide their activities until the beginning of the subprime crisis, and how much profit I would earn depended on how much they believed in my overall strategy. I could not simply write that real estate, and oil will rise, and order them to buy while keeping in mind the bubble will burst. Their genius needed a place to stand on, a logical basis of reasoning and deduction to accept my long term predictions. Once they understood my thoughts and agreed with my projections, they would use their individual talents to maximize my profits and gains.   I decided to use an analysis of the American presidential election in November as an adequate explanation of my forecasts.

That oil conglomerate family will bring forth a second president who is currently the  Governor of Texas, and his Iraq invasion would make the oil market skyrocket. I thought it would work. I wrote the following titles…(EN: George W. Bush.)

 

  1. The Super Tuesday estimates
  2. The 2000 Presidential Election and the probable winner.
  3. Possible ramifications and shifts in Foreign Policies after the Inaugural
  4. The stability of Iraq’s Leadership and implications to the US Oil Market…

(EN: Super Tuesday is the United States presidential primary election day in February or March when the greatest number of U.S. states hold primary elections and caucuses. Approximately one-third of all delegates to the presidential nominating conventions can be won on Super Tuesday, more than on any other day. The results on Super Tuesday are therefore a strong indicator of the likely eventual nominee of each political party.)

 

**

The Republican Party nominated their presidential candidate on Super Tuesday. Since the Texas governor emphasized his morality and his connection with Texans, his early campaign tactics were focused on heightening the support in his home state. There were traces of his campaign volunteers having visited even this secluded house that was surrounded only by wheatfields. The man passed by the ubiquitous campaign posters and stopped dead when he thought he heard a creak like the wooden gates of the dungeon.

His eyes widened, and he was ashamed of the sharp spike of panic in response to his isolated surroundings. This did not suit a Man Who Overcame Adversity. He hid himself and later that night, the man climbed onto the second floor window like a cat and searched for people. The rooms on the second floor were mainly used to store junk, but he found someone in a room. However, he passed by the young boy not because of his age but the boy enduring the cold in a trash filled room reminded the man of his own tormented past.

After that, the man moved as he had planned. The boy’s parents and the boy lived in the house, and the parents suffered under the man’s violence.

The man did not ask the parents for anything even as the sun came up and he only remained in the master bedroom since it was the warmest spot in the house. The residents either chose to turn off central heating, or couldn’t afford it. The boy came down to the first floor to see his parents bound, and trembling with bruises all over their faces.

Then the man spoke to the boy.

 

“Take your clothes off.”

 

The man’s eerie voice made the boy shiver, but his father interrupted with a groan.

 

“Do what he says!”

 

The boy did so slowly, and the atmosphere was foreboding as he took off his shirt and pants. The boy had been hesitating at his last garment when the man spoke again.

 

“Come here, that’s enough.”

 

The boy’s father urged him on again, but the surprising thing was that the man did not lay a finger on the boy. Actually, the man had come here because he found his pursuers irritating. He had been looking for a hiding place before crossing the state border when he saw a boy on the street with haunted eyes. That desolate face reminded him of his own childhood, and the man following some obscure impulse carefully tailed the boy back to his home.

As the man guessed, the boy’s body showed marks of child abuse. His thin body was marked with burns and scars of whippings, reminding  the man of when he had been that age.

He had been able to think clearly and had memories since he was a baby, which seared the memories of his father’s beatings in his brain. However, the man hated his mother even more as she had ignored the beatings while looking at her son like he was the Devil himself.

The man had felt a deep betrayal towards her because he remembered they had brought him into this world together. The wounds were still bleeding even now.

 

“Things have become interesting.”

The man now saw the face of the father who had beaten him, the face of the mother who had thought he was the devil, and the face of the cursed young boy in the faces of these strangers. He licked his lips as he stood up from the chair, which made the boy’s parents wail at the same time.

 

[email protected]…! We’ve done what you asked us to! Let us go!”
“Please, let us live!”

 

Their voices were desperate, but the man turned to the boy.

 

“You. Speak. Do you want me to let them live?”

While the boy was too frightened to answer back, the man nodded like he understood what the boy was thinking. The man spoke only a short sentence to the boy in a soft voice.

 

“I killed mine.”

 

The man’s only regret was that he had killed them immediately, when the quest had appeared, instead of maximizing his rewards by killing them at the end. Nonetheless, that had been the second jackpot, as the quest had given him his second Challenger Box. The first had come when he became the second Awakened.

The man smiled at the boy, but it was not a healthy smile. His old wounds were throbbing again, and the man wondered when it would end.

 

Edited by Userunfriendly

 

(EN: Yeah, that second half was pretty disturbing.  I left it mostly the way the author wrote it, and while it seems confusing, it’s pretty easy to figure out if you read between the lines.  The First Evil is on the run, he’s being followed by Clarke’s hunters, but his psychotic episodes are so bad he makes time for his sicko games…)

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