top of page
  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 79

The mission takes a dangerous turn and Tara is forced to bluff and fight her way out of a bad situation.


This chapter is dedicated to RB! Thank you so much for your constant and ongoing support!


Disclaimer:

DO NOT publish our edit anywhere else. Especially on social media. Otherwise we may have to stop doing this. Thank you!


Episode 79. About a year (6)


I felt cold. Like a dagger was lodged in my chest. Calm down. 


Hands faster than the eyes... My quick wit would get me out of this.*


I hiccupped, slurring my words as if I was drunk.


"Ha ha ha ha ha. My platinum card is hanging in the bushes. Thank goodness I found it!" I mumbled quietly.


I smiled broadly, and turned toward the man who had spoken to me.


It was a ridiculous thing to say, but the nobles who went to places like this were the kinds of people who didn't hesitate to do or say ludicrous things.


I pretended to be one of them, and let out a long, breathy laugh for the man who was blatantly staring at me.


"Blown away by the wind?"


"Huh. Did I drop it? I don't remember. Ho-ho-ho."


I struggled to pull my legs out of the bushes and stumbled to a halt in front of the servant.


The servant, a head taller than me, stood with his arms crossed in disbelief.


What kind of waiter has such muscular forearms.... His arms looked like they might be tattooed.


"How did you get out here? This area is off-limits to outsiders."


"Haha, hah... I was thirsty. So much booze. I thought this was the door to the kitchen... This place is nice. I feel a bit more sober now, ha ha ha."


I was rambling incoherently, but I was acting drunk, so he should chalk it up to me spouting gibberish.


And the drugs really were making it hard to think straight.


Pretending to keep my eyes closed, I carefully scanned the length of the man's forearms and wrists.


"....!"


There it was. Half of a scorpion's body and its distinctive tail were clearly etched in black ink under his shirt sleeve.


I swallowed hard.


"I... I'm gonna go back inside.... Now that I've found the card, hahaha, I wanna get at least 20 gold this time...."


I brushed past the waiter, or rather, the Scorpion agent, and slowly made my way toward the stone steps.


"If you're thirsty, there's some water in the storeroom, if you're willing to wait a moment."


"No, no, no. I gotta get in there quickly so I can get my money. Hehehe."


I laughed like an imbecile. Did I make a convincing enough drunk?


I took one slow step after another, walking as drunkenly as I could. I wanted to get out of this situation as soon as possible.


"Drink some water and then go auntie!"


Damn. I had to admit it was a lame attempt. But, 'auntie'? Really?**


I sighed and turned around slowly.


"Gee. You talk too much."


Under the influence of drugs, the words flowed out without passing through any kind of filter. I couldn’t afford to slip up at a time like this. I must be mad. I was a grown woman.


"You don’t want to be called auntie or something? Why are you following me? Who are you?"


"Hmmm. You're asking too many questions, I don't know where to start."


"Ha. This is the most fun I've had in a long time."


"Me too...!"


My plan to stall for time by deliberately grabbing the horse by the tail was suddenly interrupted by the sound of a cold knife sliding out of its scabbard.


Shiing! 


In a blink, the razor sharp blade rested carefully against my delicate neck. Cold sweat trickled down my spine.


‘Shit. Why hasn't Bernard found me yet?’


***


Meanwhile, Bernard still hadn't found the luminescent paint Tara had streaked on the doorknob.


A different woman, drunk on alcohol and drugs, was holding the doorknob while she danced.


After a while of being unable to find the door, Bernard wandered back and forth from the first floor to the third, still looking for Tara.


***


I slowly raised my arms above my head.


The cold, sharp blade was slicing into my neck. They say you can't feel pain when you're nervous, but I could feel it because it stung so badly.


"I'm sure you have a lot to tell me. How about we go inside and talk about it? Where on earth did you get that dress?"


Clunk!


The sound of the warehouse door closing behind us was unusually loud. The space wasn’t untidy, but was filled with large barrels of wine that lined the walls. It wasn't dark, but it wasn't bright either, thanks to the lanterns equally spaced on the walls.


Hmm, it was smaller than it looked.


The interior of the warehouse was narrower than it appeared from the outside, with barrels stacked up to the ceiling on all but one side.


I looked around the space and breathed a sigh of relief.


The man set his knife aside, pulled a chair from the wall and placed it in the center of the room, then stood holding a rope.


He slowly ran his hands down my body from the bottom to top. His eyes gleamed, as if everything was working out better than expected.


"Come on. Make it quick. I'll spare your life if you confess right away. Kekekekeke."


So typical of a criminal. I glanced at the knife where it had been set aside, then back at the man.


"Hmm. I'll be dead in a year or so anyway. So should I just die at your hands now?"


Instead of answering the way he'd expected and begging for my life, I asked him whether or not I should die.


"What? Huh. You're so high on drugs. What's wrong with your head?"


"Huh, yeah, these drugs are strong. Are you alone?"


"What?"


"Alone. Understand? Now, I’ll ask again, are you alone here?"


I sized up the distance between the man and me. He was only four steps away.


"Ha, you really are dumb, lady. That's what I should be asking. Are you here alone?"


"Hmm. I'm here with two others, but you're alone. Hehe. That's good."


"What?"


As Bernard said, ‘The best defense is a good offense.’


I lowered my stance and lunged at the man as soon as I finished my sentence.


[That's the area a man is most protective of when he's fighting. It's not easy to attack because people tend to instinctively shield it. The best spots to aim for are the eyes, neck, throat, nose, fingers, foot or armpit.]


His eyes and neck were too high for me, and his armpits, nose, and fingers were too difficult to attack and out of range. Therefore, I targeted the instep of his foot.


Tak! Tak!


I ran two steps and leaped, simultaneously pulling up my skirt and unsheathing my now-familiar pink axe. In a split second I came as close to him as I could get, and then quickly swung it down and struck him in the foot. Not with the blade, of course, but with the blunt poll of the axe head.


But that was enough. Bernard was right. 


The Scorpion agent, thinking I was a crazy woman high on drugs, had been completely caught off guard.


“Ugh!”


He staggered back with a scream and grabbed the top of his foot. I lunged forward again. Without pausing, I smashed the poll of my axe into the side of his jaw.


"Ugh. You crazy...!"


 Dazed by the blow, the man instinctively swung his fists wildly.


Expecting that kind of reaction, I retreated quickly. But practice was nothing like the real thing, and the man's fists, swinging wildly, slammed into my side and back.


"Ouch."


After gritting my teeth through the pain, I lunged at his back so fast that he didn't have time to react.


Then, after grabbing the disoriented man by the head, I smashed the back of my axe into his knee as hard as I could and sent him crashing to the ground.


"Ouch, you crazy bitch!"


I shoved the axe blade down onto the man's throat as he winced in pain.


"Get your hands off me."


He grabbed the hilt of the axe and gripped my wrist tightly, as if trying to break it. His arm strength was no joke, but my opposite knee was pressing down hard on his shoulder, making the pressure bearable.


"Haa... Ugh, who are you...?"


"For the last time. Get your hands off me, unless you want to be decapitated."


As I spoke, I shoved the axe blade close against his neck. He gurgled and his throat spurted crimson blood.


"Gluuuuugh."


His face turned white and the strength drained from the hand that gripped my wrist.


"Now, wait a minute!"


I quickly wrapped my arms around the man's neck, my elbows barely touching his collarbone, then I pressed down with concentrated force on that spot.


"Ugh.... What...are you...doing...?"


"Whoa. Haha. You're tough... Don't make me talk. Go take a nap."


After about 15 seconds, the man groaned and closed his eyes, sagging.


It was only temporary, and he might wake up at any moment, so I carefully tied his arms together with the rope I had brought with me, and tied his legs together tightly.


"Haa.... Crap, that was terrifying."


I breathed a sigh of relief and wiped the cold sweat from my forehead. My sides and back were throbbing. It felt like I'd been hit really hard. I was sure to have some nasty bruises after this.


I felt cold, but my forehead was beginning to bead with sweat.


My skirt still clung to me, but had been ripped down the side from the hem up to my knees.


Because of the drugs still in my system, I had to suppress the urge to laugh and ramble incoherently. But inside, I was petrified. It was a natural reaction, given the circumstances. 


I was alone in a warehouse with a burly man who had just held a knife at my throat.


"Haha. If I’d learned how to fight from Bernard back then, maybe I wouldn't have gotten beaten to death in Yeouido that night."***


I chuckled at the sudden memory and pulled up the shirt sleeve that covered the man's wrist.


Sure enough, there it was, a scorpion tattoo.


"Found one. A member of Scorpion. Whoo... Everything's fine... By the way... Bernard... Haha. I only marked one doorknob, so he might not see it... It's all right. Let's get out of here."


Holding my stiff side and using the axe for support, I got to my feet. 


I turned the lock and tried the handle of the iron door, but it wouldn't open.


"What? He didn't lock it from the outside, so it must have locked from the inside."


Once again, I tried to unlock it, but it wouldn't open.


"No, why won't it open?"


I grabbed the handle and turned it a few times to no avail. After several minutes of wrestling with it, I gave up.


“Kkeukkeuk, ugh. It’s locked from the outside as well as the inside. So that means you’re trapped in here, girl. Ugh.”


I didn't see him wake up. The man was looking at me. He grunted and leaned back against a wine barrel. 


"Hmmm... As a wise person once said, 'It's often best to do nothing, than do it half-way.'"****


I wasn't laughing anymore. The effects of the drugs seemed to have worn off.


I hefted my axe, still in my hand, and strode over to him.


It wasn't my preferred course of action, but what the hell. All I needed to do now was threaten him for answers.


I thought back to the scenes I'd seen in the movies and grabbed the bound man's left foot, resting the blade of the axe on his ankle.


"Come on. Tell me where the key is. I'm going to count to three, and if you don't answer I'm going to cut your foot off."


"It doesn't exist! I don't have it, lady!"


The man was so surprised that he struggled to free his ankle, but, of course, my grip was stronger. I was free and he was bound.


"I'm sorry to say that I'm not that experienced at this. I might not be able to cut it off cleanly. I'm probably going to have to hack at it a few times first. Now, tell me.... One!"


"I swear, I don't have it! And if you don't open it from the outside, you won’t be able to get out!"


The man trembled and grabbed at his ankle, trying to pull it free from my grip.


"Two!"


“It’s true. Really. There is no key!”


"Three!"


I slammed the axe down.


____


Editor’s Notes -


Ahhh! Our girl is such a badass in this chapter!!


* The phrase Tara uses here, 손은 눈 보다 빠르 - "hands faster than the eyes" is a well known quote from Tazza, a famous Korean manhwa that follows a group of skilled card players who get involved in high stakes gambling and murder. The film adaptation was a massive hit in Korea. Originally this line refers to the main characters' excellent card skills.


** This guy calls Tara ‘auntie’ or  'ajumma' 아주움마아, which is a Korean pronoun used to address older, married or middle aged women. Tara is understandably a bit irritated because it's insulting to be addressed like an old lady when you're a young woman. However, the implication is also that this guy assumes she's an older widow because of her funereal looking clothing.


*** Yeouido or Yeouido Island is the main downtown core and financial district of Seoul, the capital city of Korea. This is where Yeonwoo died in her previous life.


**** Here Tara quotes the common Korean saying '가만히 있으면 중간이나 가지', literally "If you do nothing, you can be at least average." Which basically means that it's often best to avoid being too extra to avoid screwing things up. But in this context Tara decides to interpret this as an excuse to go all out instead of half-assing it. 


Enjoyed the chapter? Buy us a ko-fi!


130 views3 comments

Related Posts

See All

3 Comments


ProMama
ProMama
Jun 05

Tara is of the go hard or go home school, much like her would be boss-man.

Like

Rina
Rina
May 29

In the proofreading notes @Thamalasca guessed that the 'movie' Tara drew inspiration from when she was threatening to cut off the Scorpion agent's leg was probably Misery and I can't unsee the similarity now.


Like
ProMama
ProMama
Jun 05
Replying to

Okay, but… for reals.😆

Like
bottom of page