Auto Hunting - Chapter 156
From the beginning, Yoo-seong hadn’t been expecting to meet him. However, the young man in front of him had introduced himself as the Vice President’s aide.
A Vice President would only have one or two aides at most. Given his boss’ position, he must have been insanely busy with important matters. Yet this young man had tracked him in less than an hour. Besides, above all…
“I recognized you from the moment you greeted me with, ‘Nice to meet you,” Yoo-seong said. “I think you spoke in English to imply that you don’t speak Korean, but it was so obvious.”
The young man was silent as Yoo-seong evaluated him. Still, Yoo-seong couldn’t help but respect the young man’s ability. At his age, he had already climbed to a high-ranking position as an aide to the Vice President of a superpower. On top of that, he had to be a very smart person to master Korean, which was, in itself, a difficult language.
He was just like the big guys Yoo-seong had been dealing with. That was why Yoo-seong had chosen to wear his mask.
“Now, why would I get in that car? From the context, it seems that the Vice President is the one behind the Hawaii case.”
“Then why would he want to see me? As his aide, do you know his excuse?”
This was Oh Yoo-seong the hunter, whose skills were known all over the world. Combined with his aggressive, cheeky attitude, most of the opponents he had dealt with had been embarrassed and lost their pace.
“It’s not like that. The Vice President wanted to see you as an act of hospitality…”
“If so, I politely refuse,” Yoo-seong cut him off.
“If it’s just a goodwill meeting… why would such an important person waste time on seeing someone like me? I am really honored, but I will politely refuse.”
Eugene O’Neill, the Vice President’s aide who had introduced himself as Dennis Wilder, bit his lip. It was obvious to everyone involved that they were not asking for a courtesy visit. However, he could not just state the obvious and admit they needed Yoo-seong’s help.
“Would you please give me a minute?” he asked, trying to stall for time.
As soon as his hand moved toward the inside of his pocket to reach for his phone…
Yoo-seong grabbed his wrist to stop him.
“What are you doing?” he asked, alarmed.
“Tell me the answer now.” Yoo-seong’s voice was firm.
“I was going to ask the Vice President how we should proceed with this. As soon as I get his answer, we’ll get moving.”
Yoo-seong was convinced that the Vice President had no intention of meeting him. That was why he had sent his aide on his behalf, so that he could deny his involvement in the operation. If Yoo-seong allowed O’Neill to control the situation in this way, he would probably never meet the Vice President. There would be an endless stream of excuses from his aide instead.
Realizing this, Yoo-seong released O’Neill’s hand.
“The choice is yours. Whatever you do, you’ll upset someone. Make your decision now.”
O’Neill understood what Yoo-seong was trying to say. He was in a losing position, whatever he chose to do. His boss hadn’t planned on meeting Yoo-seong face to face. However, if he didn’t bring Yoo-seong to his boss, they would risk losing his services.
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After a few moments, he made his decision.
“Let’s go,” he finally said.
“Okay, but wait a minute…”
“What now?” O’Neill looked extremely anxious.
Yoo-seong smiled and gazed down at his jacket. “My clothes have gotten so dirty. I have to buy some new ones and make myself presentable, don’t you think?”
It had only been three days since he bought his clothes, but after the Hawaii incident and crossing the Pacific in them, they now looked like rags.
“I have to make a good first impression when meeting a VIP, you know,” Yoo-seong smiled.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The black sedan arrived at a private airfield situated in the corner of the spacious airport.
“Is that Air Force Two?” Yoo-seong asked, curious.
O’Neill kept his mouth shut as the sedan kept moving forward toward a private plane. As soon as the vehicle stopped in front of it, the plane’s stairs unfolded as if inviting Yoo-seong inside.
Dressed in new clothes, Yoo-seong stepped out of the car. He was clothed in black, from his ankles to his neck. The sharp outfit made him look pretty cool.
O’Neill rushed inside the plane, probably to report in advance to his boss before Yoo-seong made his appearance.
Yoo-seong’s heavy footsteps clanged on the plane’s steel staircase.
He took his time getting inside as he prepared himself. He was about to meet the second most powerful man in the most powerful country in the world. After taking a few short moments to consider all the possible outcomes of this visit, Yoo-seong went inside the cabin. As soon as he entered, he realized all his considerations had been pointless because the man waiting for him inside wasn’t the Vice President.
Seated behind Eugene was a man who had astronomical capital and connections.
‘So, this was the man who wanted to get his hands on Hawaii,’ Yoo-seong thought.
Sitting cross-legged in a spacious single-seat, the man raised his head and smiled.
“It’s an honor to meet you in person,” he said, raising a hand in greeting.
Yoo-seong knew his face well. However, he looked kinder and humbler on television.
“Miracle Boy,” Yoo-seong muttered.
The man’s eyes glinted. “Ah, thank you for that. Now I don’t have to introduce myself.”
Alvin Hawkins, also known to the world as the Miracle Boy. Fifteen years ago, at a time when CE had not been fully studied and understood, the United States had conducted secret experiments on human subjects. The goal of the experiments had been to create a body optimized for hunting. The researchers had gathered volunteers from the military via a screening so meticulous that they were left with only subjects whose physical condition and abilities were comparable to Olympians. However, the experiments ended terribly.
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Even though the subjects were volunteers, the United States had suffered tacit criticism from the international community after the results were leaked by accident. The death toll had been ‘small,” but there had been many cases where the results were so horrible that it would have been better if the subjects died at the end. Only one subject survived the atrocious human experiments.
The “boy” in front of Yoo-seong.
Alvin Hawkins was actually in his late thirties, but he had stopped growing older as an effect of the experiments. He was the first non-Ship Zone hunter who became famous around the world because of his achievements.
As the hunting system had not been established yet, he’d had no problems traveling across the United States to participate in numerous operations. Of the astronomical rewards he gained over the years, it was said that he hadn’t put a single dime in his own pocket. Instead, all his money was distributed evenly to the families of the volunteers who had suffered through the experiments, just like him. At every interview, he maintained the same sentiment.
‘-I was just lucky. All the others who had unfortunate accidents would have done the same as I did.’
It was hard not to consider him a hero.
With that, his popularity had risen to incredible heights and extended to his family. His father, Bill Hawkins, who had previously been a Senator, had run and overwhelmingly won the seat of Vice President.
“Take a seat,” Alvin told him, gesturing toward the seat opposite his.
It was a very short order, but there was a strange power in his voice.
Alvin’s smile widened as Yoo-seong sat.
“Eugene was embarrassed. Your persuasive skills are really something. If you were a US citizen, you might have a chance at an election right away.”
“You speak Korean pretty well,” Yoo-seong acknowledged.
“Ah, I have a knack for languages,” Alvin nodded. “I’m not a genius, but it’s enough to look smart in front of ordinary people. Right?”
“When you go quiet like that, it makes everyone in the room feel awkward.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“Perhaps it’s best to get to the point then.” Alvin paused, then raised four fingers in front of Yoo-seong.
“Four billion dollars,” he continued. “That’s a rough estimate of the capital I lost this time. If I added the amount of time and effort I invested, the amount would be much larger.”
In his head, Yoo-seong tried to calculate how much it would be when converted into Korean won. Then he responded, “When you place bets, you take that risk. Blaming the dice or the dealer would only make you look more miserable.”
O’Neill flinched as he listened to the conversation. However, Alvin’s expression remained the same. No, in fact, the Miracle Boy looked like he was actually enjoying the exchange.
“Of course, I have no intention of blaming you, my friend. I have many other investments, anyway. But that isn’t that the reason we’re here now? Usually, the conversation starts there.”
“Then, as you said, it’s best to get to the point,” Yoo-seong answered.
“Is that so?” A calm smile remained on Alvin’s face.
Yoo-seong felt a solid wall in front of him. The boy, no, the hunter in front of him wasn’t losing his pace even when Yoo-seong tried to fluster him.
Perhaps he was also using a mask, just like Yoo-seong was.
It wouldn’t be strange. After all, he had much more experience than Yoo-seong.
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“Anyway, it wasn’t a big deal. Did the government tell you what you’ll be doing in Nevada?”
“Catch a monster, perhaps. And a secret, special mission.”
“Right. A rescue mission.” Alvin nodded.
‘Rescue?’ Yoo-seong’s eyebrows rose. ‘What sort of rescue mission is worth billions of dollars?’
“Catch as many monsters as you can; it’s not a problem. However, what I wanted to talk to you about was that I need your special mission to be unsuccessful.” Alvin leaned in closer and winked. “This country won’t hold you responsible, anyway.”
“Who am I rescuing?”
“My junior,” Alvin answered without hesitation as if it weren’t confidential.
“A second-generation Miracle. You know what I’m talking about?”
Yoo-seong nodded. Safer and less secretive experiments had continued to create more hunters like Alvin Hawkins. However, despite the gradual development of technology and resources, no one as exceptional as the Miracle Boy had emerged.
“After all, I was kind of an accident, right? Or a masterpiece, whichever way you want to look at it.”
“But you’re saying you have a junior now?”
“Unfortunately.” Alvin looked sad as he nodded. “It hasn’t been released in public yet, but it looks pretty capable. So, they sent it to Nevada.”
For some reason, Alvin’s junior was now in need of Yoo-seong’s rescue. Yoo-seong burst out laughing.
“Hmm? What’s funny?” Alvin tilted his head at him.
“To protect your interests, you’re taking a risk and betting that someone who has already embarrassed you once will help you this time? It’s funny.”
Alvin was silent at that.
The atmosphere in the plane cabin felt cold, and Yoo-seong gradually had to stop laughing.
“To protect my interests…” Alvin forced himself to smile. “No, my friend. You’re not getting it. I have nothing of that sort.”
“What do you mean?” Yoo-seong was genuinely confused.
“If it were really about self-interest, why would I be talking to you?” Alvin’s eyes looked sad.
At this, Yoo-seong felt a sense of incongruity. To him, it didn’t feel like the Alvin he was talking to now was the same man he had met just a few minutes ago, but more like someone who had gotten entangled with him in a bad situation.
Yoo-seong felt as if Alvin was confiding in him like a close friend.
“I guess I have to let you know me more so we can have a deeper conversation, right, friend?”
Yoo-seong was stunned at what Alvin said next.
“A year from now, I will be the president of this country.”
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