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Chapter 24. Making a deal (1)
[The UN has launched an investigation on the posts of light that has been appearing on the landmarks around the world, meanwhile from witness accounts and first-hand accounts, there have been official reports that these posts are Gates that lead to a different world.]
[There have been supernatural beings found around the world.]
[From the reports of those who are traveling through the gate, the other world has all sorts of monsters…]
[While mysterious medicines and items are one by one emerging, the United States has announced that they will actively recruit American dimension travelers in order to gain intel on this other world.]
The news was noisy.
There were some who had gained special abilities from Pangaea who then went on an American talk show (although it was simple magic), and videos of healing serious wounds with a red liquid in a glass jar was all over YouTube…
And articles of an animal that looked like a mixture of a squirrel and rabbit that was able to resist a 5.56 NATO flooded the mass media. January of 2021 was noisy and filled with news of findings of a new world.
Kang Chul-In, who had almost been watching the news for three hours, turned off the TV while letting out a sigh.
A bitter smile formed on his lips.
The reason for watching the news was simple.
It was a way of sorts to lessen the gap between Pangaea and Earth.
Different from Earth, where the supernatural did not exist and only pure science existed, Pangaea was a world where advanced magic, martial arts, and monsters existed simultaneously. If you lived in such a place for a while, one's mind to the way one speaks were prone to becoming like that of Pangaea. In order to lessen this, watching TV for long periods of time helped. Then, at least in reality, one would not use corny things like 'Shakespeare tone' and diction. Of course, when one returned to Pangaea, it would all become useless.
"Should I slowly get moving?"
Kang Chul-In mumbled and left his house.
In the hands of Kang Chul-In who was stepping out the door, there was a full bag, and in it was the 500 gold that Lucia had given him. Kang Chul-In was planning to sell this gold and get some money.
The mustang let out a heavy sound as it left the parking lot. The destination was Yongsan, in old terms called 'Bookgando'—the 21st street of an old business district. With the boom of online shopping from the 2000s and the opening of the 2016 HDC Shinra Duty Free, there were almost no natives in Yongsan, and were almost all Chinese tourists. The glory of the electronic district long ago had become ancient history.
"We are not in business."
The 40-year-old man who was playing a card game on his computer with a cigarette in his mouth, said that when Kang Chul-In entered the old, shabby store filled with old, dusty computer parts.
"We don't buy things here."
He seemed like he got some cigarette smoke in his eyes, because he did not even look at Kang Chul-In and just crinkled his brow.
"I didn't come here to sell, I came here to buy. Don't pretend to do other things, and open the shutters."
Kang Chul-In spoke.
Then, the man turned his head slowly and looked at Kang Chul-In up and down.
'What is this, young little boy?'
The man's eyebrows came together. In his memory, Kang Chul-In's face did not exist. It was a face he had never seen before.
'Open the shutter? That means he does know something… cop? Oh crap!'
The man was wary of Kang Chul-In and was put in a difficult place. For those who made a living dealing illegally, strange faces were always a dangerous factor. To make a deal with a stranger was always risky.
"I don't know what you are talking about, but we don't sell or buy. Okay? So, don't be annoying and go do your business somewhere else. Huh? I screwed up… crap…"
The man glared and said in a threatening tone. It seemed like he would throw a punch if he did not leave nicely.
"I came to see the old man Kwon so open the shutter."
"I'm not police, nor do I work for the government. I came to sell this."
With a thud, the bag with the gold fell on top of the laptop which the man was playing his card games.
"Ha… this bastard."
The man with an annoyed face stood up suddenly. And he stepped close towards Kang Chul-In and put on a threatening face.
"Hey, what are you? What do you think this place is…"
"What do you mean, what is this place? It's the old man Kwon's store. Korea's greatest money bug, old man Kwon."
Kang Chul-In spoke.
"You rude little bastard…!"
In that moment, the man swung a fist towards Kang Chul-In.
The result was unfortunate.
The man grabbed his stomach and groaned, and threw up his lunch that he had eaten about an hour ago.
"What is that!"
Just in time, the other gangsters who had stepped outside for a smoke came back inside and lunged towards Kang Chul-In.
The result was the same.
There was not one who was able to touch even Kang Chul-In's clothes. With one blow, all of them fell to the ground.
Kang Chul-In was a man who's fighting power surpassed that of a professional boxer with no skill. If he was Level 14… even if it was a lower level, these gangsters were elementary schoolers at most.
"You… you bastard… you… who sent… you… talk… before… I make a hole… in your head…"
The man who fell first spoke menacingly. Before anyone noticed, his hand was in the inside pocket of his jacket.
'This little idiot?'
Kang Chul-In knew what was in that inside pocket.
Old man Kwon was a money thirsty man who would deal anything that would bring in money, like drugs, guns, or stolen goods. And for a gangster protecting old man Kwon's store (although this was just one of the many), they would carry at least one gun. However, Kang Chul-In did not seem at all scared even when he knew his opponent was carrying a gun. Of course, if he was hit with a bullet now, in nine cases out of ten, he would die, but he was confident he would not be hit in the first place, so there was no reason to be afraid.
'I'll break your neck.'
It was when Kang Chul-In smiled a bitter smile and decided to lunge at the man.
[Put the toy away. Nothing good comes of making a commotion.]
An old voice flowed out of the speakers that hung at the corner of the ceiling.
[I don't know where you are from… but you got some fists.]
It was the voice of old man Kwon.
'He's still the same.'
Kang Chul-In smiled quickly at the familiar voice of old man Kwon.
Kwon had often made deals with Kang Chul-In in the past.
Kang Chul-In had sold items that were difficult to distribute for him with a fee or purchased items as well—it was quite a nice business partnership.
[Open the shutter and bring him downstairs. I want to see his face.]
Kang Chul-In was able to meet old man Kwon, who was surrounded by eight bodyguards, when he passed the shutter and went down a secret tunnel leading to a bottom floor.
"You are not a familiar face, who introduced you?"
Old man Kwon formed a sort of approachable smile and asked.
Kang Chul-In answered.
"That won't do. Although it may seem that in this line of work, you just do whatever, but there is no after-trouble if both sides are clean."
The old man seemed reluctant.
"You won't get an upset stomach even if you eat this, so let's just deal."
"Let's just deal?"
In old man Kwon's bald forehead, the veins bulged.
"Haha! Hey, young man. Have you never heard of respecting your elders? You will go with one blow like that."
"The old man Kwon that I know likes money more than talking about petty formalities."
Kang Chul-In responded back.
Kang Chul-In put the bag with 500 gold on Kwon's table.
"500 gold that are 10g each. 97.8% purity. Market price is about 200,000? 10% commission is enough?"
"Ho… work talk right away…. Fine, money over formality. So, origin? Stolen? Illegal mining?"
"The noisy place these days."
Old man Kwon's face hardened.
"You must know that in any business, it is beneficial to start in the early stages, yes?"
Kang Chul-In slyly threw bait.
"Very, beneficial. The early bird catches the worm. Yes, of course. However, entering a new market has also big risks."
Old man Kwon said pretending not to pay attention. He was an experienced old man, so he did not go for the bait right away.
'It is appealing, but he means that there is no reason to jump into it if the money is good right now.'
Kang Chul-In could understand what old man Kwon was intending.
'However, old man, you are going to decide to work with me.'
There was a critical weakness in what old man Kwon said, and old man Kwon too would be played by Kang Chul-In's speech.
"Seems like the risk is big enough, even now?"
"Guns, drugs, fake IDs, money laundering, etc. If you get caught with one, 20 years is minimum. That's your lifeline, and talking about risk, it doesn't make sense."
An uncomfortable dry cough came from the old man's mouth.
To speak the truth, old man Kwon was a criminal.
No matter how powerful Kwon was in the dark world, it would be complete annihilation once he got caught by the authorities. The old man had come this far with luck and good resources, but it was still like walking on eggshells.
Like a man dancing on the edge of a sword, it was not strange if the old man went to prison suddenly.
"Hey, young friend. What you say isn't false, but if you push me like this, nothing will be beneficial to your life. If I put my mind to it…"
"You think you can do something to me with those gangsters?"
Kang Chul-In snorted and pointed to the the old man's guards with his chin.
"No matter how strong your fist is, there is no use in front of a bullet."
The old man spoke coldly. It meant he will kill him if he fooled around further.
"I'm disappointed old man."
"I thought you wanted to come out to the bright side."
Upon hearing those words, old man Kwon's wrinkled eyes opened wide.
"Old man, your money is like a prize beyond your reach. You can't even buy a building under your name, and how long do you think you can live under an assumed one? What are you saying, that you don't have too long to live anyways?"
"Of course you deal in cash, so profit must be large… but considering how much it costs to silence mouths and risks, isn't living that kind of life not that great either? There isn't a country like Korea that is sensitive to guns and drugs either. But I guess to change businesses now, you are probably afraid of all the negative responses from all sorts of places. It's obvious you can't fold your business because you cannot do this or that. Am I wrong?"
Kang Chul-In's speech was sharp and painful, enough to rip the old man's heart to shreds, but not one part of it was untrue.
"Old man, this is a chance. A chance for you to leave the dark side and come up to the light."
"I'll give you a bit of information. Of course, it will spread everywhere… but it is quite a good piece of information right now."
It seemed like the old man agreed with what Kang Chul-In was saying.
"The other world, more precisely, in Pangaea, you cannot take items from this world. You can only bring things. Think about it well, what this means."
The old man slowly thought of the information that Kang Chul-In gave him.
'Cannot take in… can only bring out… Pangaea? Those who go back and forth are the select few… can only bring out… wait, it seems like he is saying there is no need to invest a big amount of money….'
In that moment, the old man's eyes sparkled.
Although it was illegal, he had lived doing business for tens of years. Even with a bit of source, his head spun fast, and a way to profit had come to him.
Kang Chul-In smiled a satisfied smile, as if he knew what the old man had thought of.
"You need to just secure a distribution network. Just sit still and wait until the travelers of Pangaea bring the items for you to distribute, and all you need to do is profit off the commission."
That was the key.
"But, but what? What do I know what they can bring from there? In detail, what kind of items?"
Old man Kwon asked.
Kang Chul-In answered.