Chue Mong Gak

Chapter 99

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Isaac 99

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“And you call yourself an agent of Central?!”

“Then are you telling us to die here?!”

“How can retreat be the first thing on your mind when you haven’t even tried to a.n.a.lyze the situation!”

“s.h.i.t! What a.n.a.lysis do we need when the Gate is about to open! We need to run now!”

Thundering shouts greeted Isaac’s group when they opened the Control Room’s doors. Rivelia and Saints flinched at the sheer volume of the voices, while Isaac stared at the man who was arguing against Mazelan before turning to Saints. Saints, feeling Isaac’s eyes on the back of his head, spoke with an awkward expression.

“That’s vice-commander Sores.”

“Isn’t he too young to be a vice-commander? And is he so well-positioned that he can fight Mazelan sunbae?”

Saints seemed to have difficulty in answering the question, so Rivelia took the mantle instead.

“I believe it’s because of the chaos in the chain of command. When the head commander is missing or killed in action, the manual states that the next rank in line gains authority but…”

“Mazelan sunbae is mad because the very man who has that very authority is planning to run away.”


Faced with such a shameful display in such dire times, Rivelia couldn’t even finish her sentence in disbelief. Isaac pointed at that arrogant man with his chin and asked.

“So what did he do to end up here?”

Saints seemed to watch Rivelia’s mood with a troubled look, but he quickly answered when Isaac’s eyes narrowed sharply.

“He secured the family of a suspected demonic turncoat during an investigation and… s.e.xually a.s.saulted a woman…”

“Rape? I’m surprised he’s still alive.”

“You see… He belongs to Count Cage’s family, one of the Pureblood n.o.ble families that support Central. So it ended with his exile instead.”

Rivelia’s eyes that were upon Sores turned to absolute disdain after hearing Saints’ explanation. Even Isaac had heard of the Cage family. It was one of the more prominent n.o.ble families in the eastern provinces, and they walked with their chests puffed up proudly. Isaac had never a.s.sumed them to be a.s.sociated with Central, however.

“What’s Pureblood?”

Rivelia sighed briefly before answering Isaac.

“It was but a small social gathering at first, formed by retired Central agents. They consisted of n.o.ble families that provided funds and supplies for Central. Slowly, they curried favor with Central, allowing them to grow in power. The word ‘Pureblood’ was a name they used amongst themselves, but it is now a term familiar to all agents of Central.”

Well, it was very unlikely agents of Central would work until death. Once they reached a ripe old age, they would need to retire, and their retirement would be sustained by a n.o.ble t.i.tle and a small fiefdom. These n.o.ble families founded by Central’s agents wouldn’t have to go through the bureaucracy to request for aid, and in return, they would function as Central’s friends in managing the Empire’s economy. It was a mutualistic relationship.

“I guess you’re a Pureblood too, then.”

Isaac said to Rivelia, but Rivelia seemed offended and glared at Sores.

“Just mentioning and revelling in the word ‘Pureblood’ is a concept for trash who are consumed by superiority. The Pendleton family has been the most outspoken voice in rejecting the Pureblood Confederation’s existence and the very real risk of corruption. But the Pureblood Confederation argued that the Pendletons were simply overreacting because our privileges were being infringed upon. The Cage Family, specifically, is in charge of more than half the supplies that are provided to Central, which is why they possess great standing within the Empire.”

Isaac smirked as he listened to Rivelia’s disgruntled tone. It sounded like the Cage Family held some voice within the Pureblood Confederation. Which was why Central rea.s.signed him to an exile’s destination at the end of the world. Isaac smiled and looked at Sores.

In the end, Central ignored the tragedy and injustice of one person for the support of a Count’s family. Not even Central was perfect and spotless as an organisation. Foolish. Did they not know no man would sacrifice their lives for a nation that ignored them? All the while using a survivor of such a nation for their own gain?

Sacrificing the few for the many sounds grand at first, but those who had been sacrificed would most definitely wish for vengeance. No individual could defeat an organisation, and no one would even dream of facing against a foe as large as Central. They could only hate and complain in secret. What if demons approached these vengeful spirits, tempting them with great power? It was probably the reason why there was an endless supply of demonic turncoats. At the end of the day, it was a structural flaw in the organisation and would make excellent bait to tempt these demons.

But that was work for another time. Isaac scanned the area, deciding to clean this place up first. Tens of monitors, maps, and panels depicting the current situation were arranged chaotically. At the Control Room’s centre was Mazelan and Sores, arguing with one another. The rest of the people inside the headquarters were so preoccupied by their argument that they never noticed Isaac, Rivelia, and Saints entering.

Isaac went searching for a suitable tool, until he found the steel sword of an unknown owner leaning on the desk. He picked it and approached the two that were arguing.

While everyone outside the argument looked at the unfamiliar face that approached the two in puzzlement, Mazelan’s eyes met Isaac’s as he crept up behind Sores. Mazelan’s mouth shut as his eyes widened, and just as Sores’ head turned to see what was up, Isaac smacked the back of Sores’ head with the sword, the blade still sheathed.

Sores collapsed onto the ground with a ‘thud!’ He remained as still as a stone, seemingly unconscious from the blow. Everyone dropped their jaws at this sudden incident and looked at Isaac. Even Mazelan seemed surprised, and after a few gulps of air to regain his composure, he shouted at Isaac.

“What have you done!”

“Do you think now is the time to have a leisurely chat with this pathetic tool who hasn’t even donned his combat gear in this emergency?”

“… Hng! Take him away to a healer immediately!”

Mazelan shouted an order as he looked at Isaac, and a number of agents quickly took Sores out of the room. Meanwhile, Isaac sat on the chair at the head of the rectangular meeting table situated in the middle of the room. He placed one foot on the table and took out a cigarette, which Rivelia immediately lit.

The personnel had deduced who Isaac was at this point, mainly from the fact that Rivelia stood right beside him. The crowd whispered to one another, but Isaac ignored the commotion to speak with Mazelan.

“So what have you decided on doing?”

“What do you mean, ‘what have I decided on doing?’ We have to defend!”

“When’s the main force arriving?”

Mazelan hesitated to answer Isaac for a moment before making a firm expression as he bit down on his lip.

“There are… no reinforcements.”


Isaac choked on his air and coughed, shocked by the answer he had heard. Saints immediately brought some water, which was pa.s.sed over to Rivelia. In this brief moment, Mazelan realised that Saints had switched sides to Isaac and arched his brow at Saints. Isaac gulped down the water and asked.

“What do you mean ‘there are no reinforcements’?”

Mazelan answered with a deafening shout as he looked at the Control Room personnel furiously.

“Thanks to these pathetic fools who still don’t know how to operate the Communicators despite being deployed here for so long!”

“Don’t they have someone in charge of the Communicators?”

“When we were transitioning this place from a surveillance base to a proper garrison, there was a personnel change and the original staff was rea.s.signed elsewhere.”

“But they should have been instructed on how to maintain the facilities during this change.”

“They were! But these fools probably didn’t bother paying attention to their sunbaes, because they blew up the Communicator when trying to change from an ordinary line to a secured line!”

“Aren’t there any spare Communicators or spare parts?”

“Do you think I’d be this mad if we did?!”

Mazelan’s lecture flinched everyone within the Control Room, who scurried to avoid Mazelan’s furious glare.

“They don’t?”

“Not only did they not request for resupplies, but they were also lazy in maintenance. The entire circuit has been fried.”

“So the situation is that the enemy may come at any moment, but the outside world has no knowledge of it?”

“To think this would happen, when the times are so desperate that we aren’t even sure if we can defend the Gate with the regulars because of this sudden wind! All of you better be prepared to be called to testify in front of the Grand Council!”

Isaac clicked his tongue at Mazelan’s shout. They were already a group of troublemakers who were demoralised from being exiled. To shout in front of their face that their lives are now over was bound to create mutiny in some of them. Already, Isaac could see the mutinous expressions spread from one person to another, and one of the men stepped out to vent his frustration.

“That’s why the vice commander said we should withdraw using the airship! What are we supposed to do staying here when there’s nothing we can do!”

“Shut up! Don’t you know we need to buy as much time as possible until we receive reinforcements from the capital! I will stay here too! All of you need to prepare to put your lives on the line in battle!”

Isaac sighed at Mazelan’s defiant declaration. These lots were exiled to the Forbidden Lands because they chose profit over their righteous duty of protecting the Middle World. Telling them to fight to the death and drag them along by force without a carrot was only going to make them into a useless mob. Although, they were a useless mob in the first place.

‘Is it the stick for now?’

Isaac pondered what to use at the man who snorted at Mazelan’s declaration to speak. Isaac decided to pull out a pistol and aimed at the snorting man.


Everyone ducked for cover, hearing the horrid sound unique to the battles of the Gate’s defense. Meanwhile, the man who received Isaac’s shot checked his body in a panic.

“Hm. It’s not calibrated.”

Isaac muttered, and the man turned behind to see a small but definite hole on the map behind him.

“How dare you!”

“What do you think you’re doing!”

While Rivelia turned her head to try to ignore the situation, unwilling to intervene, both Mazelan and the man shouted in unison. Isaac dug his ear in annoyance and answered.

“He’s probably wearing his coat anyway.”

“Does it look like he’s wearing the coat to you?”

“Huh? You’re not wearing one? What a shame. I could have sent you off in a single shot. How do you calibrate this thing? I’ve never used a Beretta before…”

EDN: “Beretta” refer to the Italian arms company, but they are very well-known for their semi-automatic pistols, the most common of which Beretta 92FS, the main sidearm of US military forces. Wikipedia article.

“What are you planning?”

Mazelan said with fire burning in his eyes. Isaac smirked, and pulled out a small fist sized object from his pocket.

“It’s much better than throwing this right?”

The crowd saw a grenade dancing in Isaac’s hand and quickly rushed to find their coats they had cast aside in a corner. Even the man who had been shot by Isaac was more occupied with finding his coat than being mad at Isaac.

Isaac looked at the panicking fools with pity, and spoke to Mazelan.

“I still don’t even understand how this lot qualifies to be Central’s agents, and you’re talking about fighting with them?”

Isaac’s sarcasm was met with Mazelan’s infuriated complaint.

“Then what do you propose!”

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Isaac shot the bullets into the ceiling, forcing everyone to throw their bodies on the ground. Isaac dug his ear once more, annoyed by the ringing in his ear following the familiar loud noise.

“Now, now. I want everyone’s attention.”

The people slowly got back on their feet, all the while looking carefully at Isaac.

“As a College Graduate, Rank 1 knight, Administrator and Lord’s Representative of New Port City, and the Director of the newly founded Directorate of Security, I will take command in accordance with protocol. Any problem?”

A number of hot-headed men began to voice their discontent, including the man who was shot by Isaac. With the coat equipped, neither the pistol nor grenades were a threat.

“How does Central punish disobedience?”


Rivelia answered in a cold tone, drawing her sword against the inside of her sheath, the blade ringing into the silence. It looked like she had been looking forward to cutting these fools down herself, even more so than Isaac himself.

Rivelia’s threatening stance kept everyone in their places. There was no one who didn’t know of the genius Rivelia that received her t.i.tle as Sword Master in the College.

Everyone froze in their place, unwilling to be the first victim of her blade. Isaac took out a cigarette and lit it as he spoke.

“There’s no need to make this damsel to the work at all. All of you know I’m friends with the Queen right? I don’t know how big your sponsors are, but unless you can stand up against the Queen, you better shut up and sit down.”

The last whispers of mutiny had now been extinguished entirely. The rumours about the new Director Isaac had spread to the Forbidden Lands as well, and there was no one who didn’t know about him.

“Is there a way to fight against the Expeditionary Force?”

With the atmosphere now under control, Mazelan asked Isaac with eyes of antic.i.p.ation. In retrospect to every crazy stunt Isaac had pulled until now, Mazelan felt like something ingenious and revolutionary was about to happen again.

“I do have one, but I’m not confident if it’ll work. By the way, how much time is left until the Gate is open?”

Isaac asked, and a man with a panicked face answered.

“Usually, it takes under 6 hours for the Gate to open after the winds start blowing.”

“For how long have the winds been blowing?”

“About 2 hours.”

“So we have 3 to 4 hours at best.”

“We have too little time.”

“That’s because you r.e.t.a.r.ds wasted it with this stupid farce.”

Everyone looked at Isaac furiously, but they soon turned away, intimidated by Rivelia’s cold glare.

“But do we have to stop them?”

“What do you mean? Are you talking about running as well!”

Mazelan shouted at Isaac as if his feelings had been betrayed. Isaac sighed and spoke.

“That’s not it, but if the Gate is going to close after a few days, they’re going to go back before the Gate closes. So is there a need for us to fight them?”

The Gate opens and closes. If you simply ignored them and left them here, they would simply withdraw, unable to leave the Forbidden Lands. There was no need for the bloodshed.

Isaac’s question was met with Mazelan’s stiff expression.

“That’s because we cannot guarantee that will be the case.”

“Hm? What do you mean?”

“Yes, the Gate has always closed after some time, but can you be sure it will be the same this time? What if it doesn’t close? All this time, it was a repeat of our offence pushing them back into the Gate. What if they have the ability to maintain the Gate permanently, but simply withdrew because they didn’t want to condemn their troops to meaningless bloodshed?”

“… That makes sense.”

Just as Mazelan had said, withdrawing from the Forbidden Lands believing that the situation will be the same as the last time could end up with the Expeditionary Forces occupying the Forbidden Lands in its entirety. The risk was too great.

“So what was your plan to stop them?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m asking how you were going to fight the Expeditionary Forces once they arrived.”

“Obviously by striking at their centre.”

*** You are reading on ***

“Just shut up and charge? That’s it?”

“That’s not it. There’s just too many variables. We’ve never attempted this strategy before, so if we use up our supply of mana crystals faster than antic.i.p.ated, we won’t have any method to fight against the Expeditionary Forces once the Mana Drain Area disappears. And once our line breaks, we won’t be able to retreat because of the sheer difference in mobility.”

“Oh yeah, how come there aren’t any other methods of transportation in this place?”

“Because any animals other than sentient races go insane the moment they set foot in the Forbidden Lands.”

Isaac sighed after listening to Mazelan. This strategy relied entirely on mana crystals, and if they ran out of mana crystals, they had to withdraw. But escape was out of option because of their lack of mobility.

At the same time, charging at the enemy after the Mana Drain Area dissipated would heavily tilt the scales towards the Expeditionary Force, making it pointless.

Isaac could understand why Sores was so h.e.l.l-bent on withdrawing. Sieging against a modern military was a bad joke at best. Although there were transports, mobility was still a problem since the only person who knew how to drive was himself, a man with a long-gone driver’s licence that had never been used once.

Battle? Retreat? What were the profits and losses in each situation? What of the power of enemies and allies? What would happen to the diplomatic situation afterwards? What would be the most favourable choice from short, medium, and long-term perspectives?

Isaac pondered deeply in the issue, so much so that you see steam coming out of his head, when suddenly, Isaac clapped loudly as if he’d had an epiphany.

“Wait a minute, this damsel here is a Sword Master. Wow! I better watch how much I pick on her. One wrong move and my head would go flying.”

“… Is that all you’re worried about in this situation?”

After waiting eagerly for Isaac to come up with a better plan, Mazelan was left dumbfounded at what just came out of Isaac’s mouth. Isaac made an emphatic nod.

“That’s the biggest problem. This damsel is the type to bottle up her feelings until they explode. I’m the only person who’d get hurt.”

‘Then shouldn’t you stop picking on her in the first place?’

Was what everyone thought in their head, glimpsing at Rivelia who stood motionless and expressionless. Suddenly, the door to the Control room was opened with a loud bang.

“What is all this commotion!”

Everyone saluted quickly when they saw an old man covered in sand and dust enter the Control Room.



It seemed at least the commander was capable. The useless mob’s temperament changed the moment the commander entered the scene.

‘But they are still r.e.t.a.r.ds nonetheless.’

Isaac thought to himself, when the old Commander Noxvil marched over to the middle of the room. Noxvil glimpsed at Mazelan and Rivelia, who respectfully saluted him, and then looked at Isaac.

“So you’re that invader who became a Director of Security or whatnot.”

“As you can see.”

Isaac shrugged as he answered. Noxvil glared at Isaac, unhappy with Isaac’s att.i.tude, and then ordered his men inside the Control Room.

“What are you guys standing around for? Prepare for a withdrawal! Now! Burn all the important doc.u.ments and destroy all the equipment we can’t take! Hurry! We will escape before the Gate opens.”


Mazelan shouted out, surprised by Noxvil’s orders. Noxvil glimpsed at Mazelan and spoke.

“Sir Mazelan, I understand your feelings, but this isn’t a fight we can take.”

“You don’t know that! We have Security agents as our combat force. With Vice Director Rivelia and you yourself here, we have more than enough of a fighting chance!”

Mazelan’s argument was met with Noxvil’s great displeasure, and he turned his back and glared disdainfully at Isaac.

“Do you think I’m withdrawing because I am scared to fight?! I am withdrawing because of you and that invader here! Have you forgotten that you and Rivelia are important figures in the Empire? If things were to go wrong and the two of you were captured by those cruel b.a.s.t.a.r.ds, the Empire will have no choice but to negotiate your ransom! And the more important matter is that invader himself! He possesses all of the Empire’s and Central’s most vital information in his head. What do you think will happen if he were to switch sides!”

Mazelan seemed to have lost steam, as Noxvil’s argument was on point. Everyone in the Control Room did as they were told, relieved that they were going to withdraw. Isaac watched the scene and took out a new cigarette as he spoke.

“Oi, old man.”


Everyone stopped in their tracks, and the cold, menacing atmosphere swept throughout the room once again. Noxvil’s eyes turned to Isaac with a glint of fury.

“Were you talking to me?”

Noxvil’s body radiated a dangerous aura, but Isaac did not relent and let out a cloud of smoke as he spoke, ignoring Noxvil’s glare.

“What’s higher? Director or Commander?”


Noxvil grit his teeth as he glared at Isaac. His steadfast adherence to the rules and his principles wasn’t going to be broken just because he didn’t like a single person. That is why he even purposely avoided the touchy area. But thanks to this unforeseen event, it was now in contention. So Noxvil used the strategy to bring Isaac into submission through pressure at the start, but there was no way around such a direct question.

“… The Director is higher.”

“I think you’re missing a word at the end there.”

“Ugh! Now isn’t the time to argue about that, sir. We have to prepare for…”

Isaac spoke down onto Noxvil as if he was pitiful, having lowered his head just because of the ‘Director’ t.i.tle despite how angry he was.

“What’s the hurry? It’s still going to take some time for the Expeditionary Forces to cross over and prepare their battalions for combat if we are withdrawing.”

Noxvil’s eyes directed at Mazelan. His eyes silently criticised Mazelan for not having explained, and Mazelan spoke out as if the blame wasn’t fair.

“Do you think we have the time to leisurely explain everything?”

Noxvil had been waiting outside the Control Room for some time, looking for an opportunity to enter the room. He had been listening to how they were running a Q&A session the entire time, and Noxvil, out of impatience, barged into the room earlier than he wanted. He wanted to say ‘you were happy to chat just a moment ago,’ but he didn’t want to give that arrogant brat any openings to interject.

“I’ll make it brief, since we are running out of time. When the Gate opens, the Expeditionary Forces will attempt to scout the area.”

“That’s obvious.”

“… I’m saying they will attempt to conduct air surveillance.”

Isaac made an interested look as he spoke.


EDN: UAVs (short for unmanned aerial vehicles) are commonly known as drones and can be equipped with various weapons ranging from missiles to automatic weapons. They are remote-controlled, hence their name. Wikipedia page.

“That’s right. The airship is made using the lightest material available in order to ride the mana storm. Even the weak armaments on an UAV can wreak havoc on the airships.”

“So our escape path is completely blocked when their UAVs take to the skies.”

“That’s right. So we must withdraw immed…”

Noxvil explained to Isaac, all the while shifting through the candidates he could vent his frustration out, when there was a great commotion outside and a man entered the Control Room.

“Hm? Captain? Why are you…”

Even before Mazelan could finish his sentence, the captain of the airship shouted out in a torrent of fury.

“Some of the garrison’s troops have stolen my airship!”

*** You are reading on ***

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