SPACE 3. His and Her Circumstances
-What am I……I really……
A tearful voice was heard through the telephone. Hyun-woo frowned and looked at the clock on the wall. He had stolen a bike from the Rama’s base and then defeated his pursuers! The bike was broken in the process and he marched through the storm for two whole days. Not only did he receive physical damage, he was also mentally damaged from eating bugs and was very fatigued. Therefore Ark entered a Hibernation state after sending the Carrier MR-II and slept soundly. And ZZZZZ! ZZZZZ! He had fallen asleep around 11 p.m. And now the wall clock was pointing towards 3 a.m.
‘What on earth is going on……?’
Hyun-woo had only slept for 4 hours so he couldn’t understand what was happening. The person calling was his mother. His mother had miraculously recovered after a long struggle. It opened her eyes to a love for humanity and decided to go overseas to assist refugees. He couldn’t understand why his mother was calling at 3 a.m. from South Africa. And she said something while crying the whole time.
‘It is clear that something happened.’
That was the only thing he understood despite his sleepiness. Hyun-woo suddenly raised his head as he recalled an old, painful memory and asked.
“Perhaps something happened to Father?”
-No, your Father is okay. But…..
“Then what is it? Please tell me slowly.”
-That….I’m sorry. It became like this……
His mother sobbed as she stuttered. Hyun-woo became frustrated and sighed.
–Hyun-woo, it’s me.
Then he heard the voice of his stepfather, Gwon Hwa-rang.
“Yes. What’s going on? Why is Mother acting like that?”
–That, something difficult has happened.
–It is about that land in the mountains that we previously bought.
“The land in the mountains? The piece of land that the An-gook hyung introduced to me?”
–Yes, I received a notification that the price of the land has suddenly fallen.
Hyun-woo’s face tensed after hearing Gwon Hwa-rang’s words.
“The land value has dropped? Is that why Mother has been crying on the phone? I, tell Mother……it is normal for the land value to rise and fall. It is a lump sum so a small fall won’t cause much difference. An-gook hyung also said that at the time. The price suddenly ascended so there is the possibility that it would fall slightly. You don’t need to worry because it will rise gradually.”
Hyun-woo laughed and answered.
In order to explain, Hyun-woo had to go back 4 years. Hyun-woo’s father died in a traffic accident and he had to borrow a lot of money to pay for his mother’s hospital bills. He couldn’t rest and had to run away trying to pay off the interest on the loan as well as the hospital bills. It became a habit to tremble over spending even 1,000 won. The situation changed 1 year after he started New World. Hyun-woo clung to money more fiercely than any other user and managed to settle his debt 2 years after starting New World. He spent 1 year as a consultant and 1 year as Global Exo’s director. During those 2 years, he was able to steadily gather quite a bit of money.
“Now if you only get married then I don’t need to worry any more……”
At that time his mother started nagging.
“A man only becomes an adult once he makes his own home.”
“Mother, I’m now 26 years old. It isn’t that urgent at this age.”
“Not urgent? It’s not like you haven’t met any women. There is both Kang Mi-su and Hye-sun……shouldn’t you definitely clear up your heart? While your heart is important, a woman will also decide to leave if you take too long.”
His mother said to him. At the time Hyun-woo had two females close to him. There was Kang Mi-su who was known as Lariette in New World and Park Hye-sun also known as Roco. Like his mother said, both of them were interested in Hyun-woo and he had a good impression of them. But a good impression didn’t mean a love affair. He had also never thought about marriage. At the time, marriage was just a distant thought in Hyun-woo’s future. And there was another part that weighed on his mind.
Alan had been Ark’s biggest rival in New World! After the event triggered by Lucifer was put in order, Hyun-woo heard that Alan was in a coma. He would plunge a sword into him without hesitation in the game but this was reality. Hyun-woo and Alan didn’t have a good relationship but Hyun-woo felt somewhat responsible.
‘Alan has liked Kang Mi-su for a long time.’
That thought popped into his head every time he saw Kang Mi-su. His heart felt heavy and he became increasingly gloomy so he decreased their meetings. And she left to study abroad several months after he joined Global Exos so they lost contact. His budding relationship with Kang Mi-su had been stopped because she kept on reminding him of Alan. He belatedly though he made some mistakes but he still didn’t contact her. His relationship with Park Hye-sun lasted a little longer than that. But Hyun-woo couldn’t stop thinking of Park Hye-sun as his little sister. So there wasn’t any real progress between them. She also became known as a minstrel in New World and was contacted by a scout for an entertainment agency. Her schedule became busy after that and they barely had any contact now.
‘……Well love is like that.’
Hyun-woo had to clean it up. Anyway, Hyun-woo’s marriage was still far in the future. Therefore Hyun-woo entrusted most of his income to his mother after she left the hospital. At that time, his stepfather Gwon Hwa-rang and the members of his rehabilitation program Yoo An-gook made a proposal to him. That was the land in the mountains that Gwon Hwa-rang spoke about. Yoo An-gook was a real estate specialist nicknamed Bu Dong-san. Yoo An-gook heard that the price of the land in the Taek Mountains was going to climb soon so they purchased it. The government then announced that it was going to relocated their main government office there so there was a huge speculative frenzy over the land. But that speculative frenzy would eventually calm and it would fall to a more reasonable price. He couldn’t think of a reason why is mother would be anxious. Of course, almost all of his fortune had been invested into the property so it was natural to worry.
“It was very high for a while so even a little fall wouldn’t give that much damage. Father shouldn’t worry so much. We’re not selling it immediately anyway. It will go up again soon.”
–It’s not like that.
-The real estate price of the land in the Taek Mountains has fallen to 1/10 of the price over the last few days.
Hyun-woo was bemused by Gwon Hwa-rang’s words. He was still tired and thought he was hearing nonsense.
“1/10th of the price? Is that a joke?”
–I want to believe that. But that isn’t the case.
“T-then why?” How did it fall so much?”
–I don’t know. At first I thought the relocation that the government announced was cancelled. An-gook was also baffled. The price didn’t fall gradually but it was a sudden drop over two days. An-gook is trying to check with his contact but we don’t know what happened at the moment.
Hyun-woo quickly got over his sleep. Like he said, Hyun-woo had left his money to his mother and she invested it into real estate. Hyun-woo had sworn to make sure his mother could live properly without crying. Therefore he sent 30~40% of his income to pay for his mother’s expenses while she was overseas helping the refugees. Other than the money used to help the refugees, his mother invested the rest of Hyun-woo’s earnings into real estate. Now that real estate had fallen to 1/10th of the price. That was 1/10th of the money had earned during the 4 years.
“Such a thing…..!”
Hyun-woo was about to exclaim angrily when he closed his mouth. He took a deep breath before talking in a calmer voice.
“I understand what you’re saying. But you don’t need to worry too much. I’ll talk to An-gook hyung and we’ll deal with the problem. I’m also a director in a large corporation. It doesn’t matter if the money falls a little bit. Do you understand? Mother’s health is the most important thing of all. I’ll contact you if I learn more so please tell Mother not to worry. I believe in Father.”
–I know. And……I’m sorry.
“We don’t know yet. Father doesn’t need to be sorry.”
He said and hung up. His mother’s health was more important than a few pieces of money. This was true. However, even Hyun-woo couldn’t be fine after hearing such words. He disconnected the phone at 3.30 a.m. and by the time he finished his shower it was 4 a.m. It was still early but Hyun-woo got dressed and left his house. He took a taxi and arrived at Yoo An-gook’s real estate office at 5. There were lights on in the office despite the early hour.
There was a man smoking the cigarette inside the office. He was Yoo An-gook, also known as ‘Bu Dong-San.’
There were also 9 other people inside the office. The men clearly didn’t look ordinary. If those men went out together as a group then their looks would cause the police to be called. The nine men were the ex-rehabilitation members. Hyun-woo had a good relationship with them but he didn’t feel like smiling in this atmosphere. They had also bought land in the Taek Mountains like Hyun-woo.
“What on earth is going on?”
“Hwa-rang hyung-nim contacted you.”
“Then sit down.”
Yoo An-gook asked as he looked at him with a haggard face.
“What have you heard?”
“The real estate has dropped to 1/10th of the price. It was fine a few days ago so why has it dropped so suddenly?”
“I also don’t understand it either.”
Yoo An-gook muttered and sighed while sucking a cigarette.
“After hearing the news, I checked it and thousands of the land near the real estate we bought we sold at almost the same time. It was sold at 70% of the market price. A lot of land was sold within a short period. The people who bought the surrounding real estate belatedly found out and hurriedly sold their land. They could only think that there is a problem with the land. That’s why the value of the land suddenly dropped so much.”
“That’s why the price dropped to 1/10th?”
“The market price is 1/10th but……”
“There will be no deal at that price.”
The ex-con artist named Kang Yoo-jin with the nickname Jjak-tung interrupted.
“There are rumours about the LTE class. They seemed to already know everything about the real estate. Those experts bought several pieces of land after the price fell to 1/10th. Therefore the actual sale was less than that number. In some cases it might become a dead land deal.”
“It is tied up. Your money and my money.”
Ma Chorung who was nicknamed Hae Gyeol-sa said towards Yoo An-gook. Then Kang Yoo-jin frowned and muttered.
“We listened to An-gook. An-gook said the value of the land is high so can we blame him for this situation?”
“He’s not to blame.”
Ma Chorung pouted with a dissatisfied look. Yoo An-gook could only sigh. Yoo An-gook stared at Hyun-woo for a while before saying.
“The situation has already happened. The fundamental cause is the sale of the surrounding real estate…..what is the reason? Why did the first person sell the land for 70% of the price?”
“I honestly don’t know why.”
Yoo An-gook scratched his head and took out a new cigarette.
“I ran around everywhere after getting the news. But the owners of the land are just there in name. Do you understand? The actual owners are separate.”
“You know, the price of the Taek Mountain land rose after the announcement from the government. Isn’t it obvious if they bought the property before the announcement?”
Kang Yoo-jin spat out in a rough voice. Yoo An-gook nodded and continued.
“That’s right. I also knew that the price of the land in the Taek Mountain would rise due to a contact. So I checked there when I knew there was a problem but I was blown off. I also think it is strange that the government office transfer was cancelled. Even if it was cancelled, there should be an announcement from the government. If they had broadcasted it for a few days then the price wouldn’t have dropped all at once.”
“A war isn’t going on right now……”
“I don’t think it is a war that caused the value of the land to fall.”
Ma Chorung said. Then he shrugged when Hyun-woo and the other rehabilitation members looked at him.
“That’s right. When we went to see the land the other day, wasn’t there a nuclear power plant in the vicinity? Isn’t that the first place North Korea would aim missiles if there is a war? Look at what happened with the Fukushima nuclear plant accident. If the land becomes soaked with radioactivity then it would become worthless.”
“This bastard, are you joking?”
The rehabilitation members glared at Ma Chorung. But Hyun-woo felt like he had been hit in the back of the head by a hammer.
‘A nuclear power plant…..there was a nuclear power plant in the vicinity of the Taek Mountain region? Then perhaps……’
A name floated into Hyun-woo’s head.
……Lucifer! He was the strongest artificial intelligence created by the genius Park Woo-seong.
Once again, the reason Hyun-woo was struggling inside New World was because of Lucifer. Lucifer took advantage of his intelligence to take control of the nuclear power plant, causing the government to ask Hyun-woo to play Galaxian. Moon Ji-hun who was part of the emergency task force told Hyun-woo that Lucifer was threatening to blow up the nuclear power plant. If Hyun-woo played Galaxian then Lucifer would transfer control of the nuclear power plant back to the government.
‘Is that the reason?’
This was the government. He was too naive when thinking like a gamer.
‘Lucifer isn’t stupid. If he transferred control of the nuclear power plant over to the government then his weapon to threaten them would disappear. And Lucifer also knew about the existence of Park Woo-seong. If the government used Park Woo-seong to build a firewall then it would become difficult for Lucifer. So he wouldn’t hand over the control without a safety device. No, the nuclear power plant might not be the only one Lucifer seized. He might’ve ceded control of one nuclear power plant as a condition to me joining Galaxian but it would be simple for him to take control of other nuclear power plants……’
And what if the nuclear power plant chosen was the one in the Taek Mountains?
‘……All my questions are answered!’
The people who bought the real estate were the politicians who received the information in advance. If they were politicians then they could easily obtain information about Lucifer and the nuclear power plants. Moon Ji-hun said it was a secret but that only applied to the ordinary residents of Korea. It didn’t apply to South Korea’s politicians. They could use that information to obtain more money. They joined hands to buy real estate and then sold it off in one stroke. This was a lucky secret unknown to ‘ordinary people.’
‘Those damn politicians!’
Anger welled up in him at the thought. These were the politicians supposed to be devoted to their country and its people! He really wanted to curse them and his mouth hurt from holding them back.
Now wasn’t the time for it. The price had gone up considerably before that so selling it at 70% of the price wouldn’t give them any damage. But Hyun-Woo and the rehabilitation members were different. Thanks to the politicians selling the real estate, the price had fallen to 1/10th of its value. And even if he was willing to sell it at this price, there was no one who would buy it. Hyun-woo realized this and looked at Yoo An-gook.
“Anyway, now we can’t even sell it at 1/10th of the price?”
“That’s right. We need to watch a little bit more.”
“Then I can only wait and watch. Please contact me if you find any other information.”
Hyun-woo said in a blank voice and got up. Yoo An-gook’s eyes widened as he smoked his cigarette.
“Eh? Where are you going?”
“It’s not too late. I can’t just sit here.”
“I have some work to do today. Hyung-nims, I’m going to go. Ask me again after a few days.”
“That brat, he still hasn’t changed. Yes, I’ll contact you if I find anything.”
Kang Yoo-jin laughed and nodded. Hyun-woo murmured with an unpleasant expression after leaving the office.
“In fact, I hadn’t really felt the threat of the nuclear power plant……”
It wasn’t like he thought it was okay. However, Hyun-woo was an ordinary citizen so he couldn’t really fathom the threat of a national emergency. However, the threat started to become real after hearing about the real estate. He couldn’t say it wouldn’t affect him anymore. If there was an explosion then Hyun-woo and the rehabilitation member’s land would become radioactive. And all the money he collected for 4 years would fly away. Money was money but he also couldn’t imagine the impact his mother would receive.
‘Now I have to use every possible method to stop Lucifer.’
It wasn’t for the nation. It was for his family and Hyung-nims. His determination was now very different.
‘Dammit, wake up! I can’t stay on Beltana forever!’
An irritated Hyun-woo took the taxi and returned home. An idea suddenly occurred in his mind.
‘Is there a way to figure out if Lucifer took control of the nuclear power plant in the Taek Mountains?”
“What is going on?”
Inside a spacious and luxurious office. The man didn’t even turn his eyes at the question.
“The real estate that my mother and I own was sold when we weren’t paying attention.”
The man frowned as the voice continued. He sighed and pushed aside some documents before raising his head. A woman in her twenties was in front of him. She was wearing baggy jeans and a t-shirt. Her attire didn’t fit in with the luxurious atmosphere of the office but she wasn’t interested in minor problems like that. Her expressionless face that looked like a stone statue lessened her appeal. The man stared at her before asking.
“How did you know?”
“That estate is in my name and my mother’s. Isn’t it strange for me to not know?”
“You don’t need to worry.”
“It doesn’t seem like that. Almost all the land near it was sold at the same time. And the remaining land is worth 1/10th of its price so the people who own it must be shedding blood. I don’t know why such a thing happened but it is huge. Fortunately my mother and I seem to be quite lucky.”
“If that is all you wanted to say then leave.”
“I intend to do just that.”
The woman turned around with a blank expression. The woman grabbed the door handle and paused for a bit before asking in a low voice.
“Why are you my father?”
The man frowned again. However, he soon returned to his original expression and replied.
“I need to work.”
“You do that.
The woman left the room with the same expressionless look. However, many emotions came flowing onto her face as soon as the door was closed. Resentment, anger and helplessness……she panicked. She didn’t want to feel like that. So she ran away. She hid her real appearance and lived in a different place. In another world she named herself Irina.