Auto Hunting - Chapter 99
Hunting was actually very simple.
When a rift occurred, hunters would come out to block the area, hunt monsters, and then close the rift.
As long as no civilians were injured or killed – the primary goal of hunting – a hunt could be classed as successful.
However, sometimes there were instances when other goals had to be considered.
Yang Chang-guk’s expression was quite serious as he briefed Yoo-seong while walking up a staircase in the Special Defense Agency building.
“The news has not gotten out yet,” he began, “but it will be broadcast within an hour. With what happened last time, it’s a very sensitive subject,” he continued.
“I understand.” Yoo-seong nodded.
Yang Chang-guk had not even described the operation in detail yet. He didn’t know how large the rift was, how many people were involved, and so on.
However, Yoo-seong knew how sensitive the operation was just by the location in which Yang Chang-guk had chosen to speak to him. It was an area where the borders of two countries coincided.
Both countries usually sent their own teams to handle the cracks within their borders. Other times, the country with the larger area covered by the crack handled the operation.
However, what about areas where territorial disputes occurred?
“The last incident was hell,” Yang Chang-guk sighed.
“I saw news articles about it when I returned.” Yoo-seong nodded.
“Way more happened than was released in the news.”
A few months after Yoo-seong disappeared, a crack had occurred in Ieodo, an area where South Korea and China’s exclusive economic zones overlapped.
At that time, the Korean industry was already suffering due to the increased rate of crack appearances and manpower shortages. Pang-guk, the company active in the West Sea, Jeollanam-do, and Jeju Island, was also suffering from the same issues.
There were not a lot of hunters that could be dispatched to Ieodo.
China’s Defense Agency offered to handle the crack by themselves, which seemed like a reprieve for the Korean Defense Agency.
After accepting their offer, Yang Chang-guk then focused on civilian safety. At the same time, the Special Defense Agency sent ships to Ieodo to help with rescue and evacuation operations.
Eventually, the Chinese hunters closed the cracks successfully, and everything ended well with no civilian casualties.
However, the Chinese government used the operation for its propaganda. Unbeknownst to Yang Chang-guk and the Korean Defense Agency, China had also dispatched camera teams.
They captured footage of the Chinese hunters’ activities and contrasted it with the empty Korean maritime bases in Ieodo and Korean ships leaving the area.
China deemed the video as proof that the exclusive economic zone was clearly their jurisdiction. The effect of the provocation was indeed enormous. The domestic reaction was explosive.
“Because of it, people were calling us traitors. Even my kids were getting flak in school.” Yang Chang-guk shook his head.
Of course, it didn’t actually mean that Korea had given up Ieodo to China. Members of the maritime bases returned after the operation ended, and the area was still disputed.
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“It was definitely an aspect I did not consider. But even if I could go back to that time…” Yang Chang-guk’s voice was heavy.
“I’d make the same choice. It is my responsibility to do everything for the safety of the country and its people.”
Considering the situation at that time, if he had forced more hunters to join the operation, the accumulated fatigue would have made it risky. Looking at the big picture, a more dangerous situation could have unfolded.
However, the incident left a bad mark in people’s eyes because they believed that the Defense Agency was incompetent and had to resort to borrowing other countries’ power.
“That’s why I’m glad,” Yang Chang-guk tried to smile, “that a talent like you came back. I don’t have to make that choice again.”
They reached the rooftop exactly as Yang Chang-guk finished speaking. Then he threw the door open.
Strong gusts of wind now greeted them. A helicopter was waiting for them on the rooftop.
“I’ve told you this several times already,” Yang Chang-guk said as they climbed up to the helicopter. “But I’m so glad you’re back… Thank you.”
Yang Chang-guk had more to say, but it was hard to communicate due to the propeller’s noise.
Yoo-seong could feel the Director’s tension and anxiety.
‘It’s only natural,’ he thought. ‘If he fails again this time, the impact will be much greater.’
The place where the helicopter was heading was in a situation similar to Ieodo.
Yoo-seong clenched his fist and tried to clear his mind. The helicopter then headed straight to Dokdo.
When they arrived in Dokdo, a temporary control center had already been established. Yang Chang-guk was discussing the status with an employee.
“The location hasn’t been confirmed yet?” he asked.
“That’s right. Because the variations are so severe…”
Yang Chang-guk nodded. Then he looked over to the other control center across from them: the Japanese control center.
Though the crack was expected to appear in Korean territory, Japan was as close to this area as Korea. Therefore, any incident that occurred during the operation would also pose a threat to their population. That was the reason they were legally allowed to join the operation.
Yang Chang-guk spat on the ground, then began walking toward the other control center. At the same time, a few people stepped out from the control center to meet him.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Nakai Yasuo,” a middle-aged man said.
“I am Yang Chang-guk,” he replied.
Nakai Yasuo narrowed his eyes. “Your job title?”
“Director of the Korean Special Defense Agency,” he responded briefly.
He was certain that these men knew who he was, but they still asked him to clarify his identity.
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It was a way of looking down on the Korean industry. The unfortunate thing was that he could not make the same comment to spite them.
This was because there was no way anyone wouldn’t know the man before him.
Nakai Yasuo. The CEO of Nakai Private Hunting Firm, Japan’s representative hunting agency.
“Who are those people?” Yang Chang-guk pointed over Nakai Yasuo’s shoulder.
“Oh,” the man smiled with obvious treachery. “They are part of our required personnel.”
Yang Chang-guk threw a look at the group behind Nakai Yasuo. They were obviously staff and cameramen from Japanese broadcasting stations.
“Aren’t they reporters? Are you going to broadcast the operation?”
“Yes. They are part of this operation.”
“Don’t you have action cams? Why do you need to bring members of the media with you?”
“Because there is a limit to an individual’s point of view. The perspective their footage provides can be of great help to our students and future hunters.”
Then Nakai Yasuo smirked before continuing, “It seems that Korea isn’t doing this yet…”
Yang Chang-guk shook his head as he tried to control himself.
It was obvious. Japan was going to take the route China had. They were going to use this operation to strengthen their claim on disputed territory.
“Your Defense Agency has not responded to our agency’s request for cooperation…” Yang Chang-guk commented.
“Ah, yes. We are planning to move independently.”
Yang Chang-guk’s eyebrows furrowed. “Independently?”
“We have the expertise when it comes to sea-based operations.” Nakai Yasuo spoke confidently.
Hunting at sea was greatly different than on land. To hunt marine-type monsters required different strategies from hunting flight-type or land-type beasts.
“Because we are an island, our sea hunting methods continue to progress on a day-to-day basis,” Nakai Yasuo explained.
“We are also surrounded by three seas,” Yang Chang-guk countered.
“Well… I think you’re on a level that still needs improvement.” Nakai Yasuo smiled brightly.
It was an open provocation to Yang Chang-guk.
“You don’t have to worry,” Nakai Yasuo assured him. “We intend to put all our efforts into this operation. However, please understand that we are very sensitive when it comes to protecting our know-how and information.”
Yang Chang-guk’s face turned red. “You’re talking like… like we’d steal it.”
“Do it your way. We’ll do it our way,” a strong voice said from behind Yang Chang-guk.
They all turned. Yoo-seong was standing behind Yang Chang-guk.
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The Japanese felt shocked. No one, not even Yang Chang-guk, had noticed Yoo-seong approach.
“Yoo-seong, what you just said,” Yang Chang-guk wanted to clarify.
“We will move independently. They are right. They should protect their know-how and information as much as possible.”
“The famous Oh Yoo-seong. Thank you for being considerate of this position.” Nakai smiled at him.
However, Yoo-seong barely acknowledged him with a glance. He focused on Yang Chang-guk as if the other people around him didn’t matter.
“Do you want to proceed with their plan?” Yang Chang-guk asked him one more time.
“Yes, Director. Just as these people are proud of their know-how and information, I have my own methods I don’t want them to see. It would be a win-win to move unhindered.”
Yang Chang-guk glanced at Nakai.
Yoo-seong had thrown them a reverse provocation.
“I didn’t know that Oh Yoo-seong was well-trained in marine operations,” Nakai said in an attempt to get Yoo-seong’s attention.
“I have never participated in a marine operation before,” Yoo-seong said in a casual manner.
Then he patted Yang Chang-guk’s shoulder lightly. “Let’s go, Director.”
Nakai could have let it end there.
What he wanted, an independent operation, was already guaranteed. However, an unexpected emotion sprung up from his chest.
“You’d better be careful,” he found himself blurting out. “The sea is different from the land. I know your achievements, but if you belittle the sea…” Nakai laughed. “You haven’t even been in a marine operation before.”
Yoo-seong slowed his pace and began speaking out loud to Yang Chang-guk.
“I traveled the distance from China to Korea in the world beyond the crack. How do you think I did that?”
“By walking along the coastline?” Yang Chang-guk guessed out loud.
“No.” Yoo-seong shook his head. “Why would I do something so exhausting?”
It seemed as if they were speaking between themselves, but their voices were loud enough for Nakai to hear.
“Then, how did you do it?” Yang Chang-guk asked.
“I crossed the sea.”
“What? How? What did you ride on?”
“I made a raft.”
Nakai thought it was so incredible that it must be a bluff.
Just then, yells were heard from both control centers at once. Finally, the crack location was confirmed. It ended up appearing in the worst place.
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