Tea Leaves and Diamond Bracelets

Bitter Trusting

Match Nine: Bitter Trusting:

Wang Ja made it back to his room. He managed to make his isolated room his own. When the Baltic states stepped in, they felt like they were stepping into Hong Kong itself. Wang Ja made his room his sanctuary.

He sat down at his laptop and booted it up. Ah, the internet. Without it, people would’ve gone nuts a long time ago. Many a night Wang Ja found it as his stress ball. He’d look up many things through Google. (Heh, who knew he would have access to Google again. Why couldn’t China just lighten up and let them have it?) He had to be careful, though. Ivan would check the internet about 99.8% of the time. Wang Ja managed to work his way around this nagging fact. Incognito was such a gift to the browsers around the world.

That wasn’t the only thing he had on his laptop.

Wang Ja opened up his translation program on his desktop. He downloaded from the internet. The butler was careful to do his research beforehand. He read the reviews and the feedback before downloading and installing. Wang Ja set the default of Russian to Chinese. He got started on the first document.

“Come on, you bastard,” he said to himself. “What are you hiding in your e-mails?” As Wang Ja waited for the results, a notification popped up on his screen.

“Hm?” he asked. Seventy-eight new messages. Wang Ja shrugged to himself. Why not? Might as well knock as couple of e-mails out while he waits. The butler opened his e-mail and looked through the inbox. Mostly just notices about the various groups he was on. Another e-mail from Yao. Wang Ja rolled his eyes. His brother still tried to kiss up to him, huh? This was all Yao’s fault anyway. Oh well, forget about him for now. Spam that tried to pass itself off as normal e-mails.

But then, he stopped on one certain e-mail.

Mi-Soon had sent him something. “Urgent! Please Reply ASAP!” Wang Ja stared at his screen. He like the other siblings hadn’t heard from her in years. After the Korean War, they all took Im Yong’s side. Mi-Soon cut herself off from everyone else. Why would she be reaching out now?

Against his better judgement, he clicked on the e-mail. He wasn’t the only one she sent this too. All of the siblings got this e-mail. Wang Ja’s eyes moved down the message.

I have to keep this short because I am not supposed to tell you this. But, I can’t keep this a secret anymore. You might call me crazy, I don’t care. This has to come out.

The world is ending. There are three forces at play: Tandeki, Vozrozhdeniye, and Mam. Our intelligence is saying that Japan, Russia, and England are in a race to bring the world to an end.

Wang Ja read the last line again and again. Russia wants to end the world? As much he wanted to celebrate about finding this out, something told him not to get his hopes up.

Then another notice popped up on his screen. This time, for a private chat session. Low and behold it was Mi-Soon inviting him to talk. Something told Wang Ja to decline. This was a rabbit hole waiting to happen. What kind of conspiracy theories could she drag him down? It sounded to dangerous. Maybe he should decline.

The Hong Kong man hit accept. A chat window popped up on the screen.

“Hello?” he typed. Wang Ja held his breath as he waited. He had never had to use chat on his laptop while living in Ivan’s house. He hadn’t even changed the setting after the update yet. Maybe she won’t even reply back.

“Hi,” Mi-Soon wrote back.

Wang Ja sat up in his chair. “Is this really Mi-Soon?” He waited for the reply.

“Yes,” she wrote back. The Hong Kong man stared at the screen. Okay then, she could actually be her.

“Prove it,” Wang Ja typed. He sat back and waited. Suddenly, a video feed popped up. A girl in a military uniform sat at a computer. There was she was.

“I am here,” she typed. “Can you see me?” Okay, there was the proof. Wang Ja looked around for a moment.

“Can you see me?” Mi-Soon typed again. Her brother took in a breath.

“Let’s do this with the mics,” he typed.

“Okay,” she typed back. Wang Ja reached into his desk drawer and pulled out his microphone headset. Mi-Soon did the same.

“Can you hear me?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said.

“Oh, good.”

Wang Ja narrowed his eyes at her. “What was with that weird e-mail? What are you talking about the world is ending?” As much he wanted the Russia part to be turn, part of him hoped that this was hoax at his expense.

“Just exactly as I wrote.” The look on her face told him everything he feared.

“Why would they do that?” Wang Ja asked.

“I can’t say for sure.” She glanced over her shoulder and bit her lower lip. Her brother blinked.

“I don’t get it,” he said.

“Get what?” Mi-Soon asked.

“Why are you telling me this?”

Mi-Soon lowered her eyes. “I don’t want my family to die. It’s already too late for Kiku.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“The Woman in Red has taken him.”

“You’re not making any sense.” Instinct told him to end the chat, log off, forget the whole time. Under normal circumstances, this would a crackpot spouting conspiracy theories on the internet just for kicks. Wang Ja hoped that this was a prank. If it was, it was going on for too long. Her face told him otherwise.

“It’s hard for me to explain without disobeying orders,” Mi-Soon said. “I’m risking everything just by talking you now.”

“This isn’t funny anymore,” her brother said. “Stop this joke.”

“It’s not a joke,” she said. Her words made him shiver.

“Wang Ja, who are you talking to?” Toris asked as he knocked on the door.

“Family!” Wang Ja shouted as he looked at the door.

“Could you please keep it down?” Toris asked.

“Sure,” the Hong Kong man said. He turned back to his screen. “I’m sorry, that was my roommate.” Mi-Soon gave him a strange look.

“I thought you lived alone,” she said.

“Long story,” he said, waving her off. Thinking about his situation made him angrier. Wang Ja forced himself to think about something else.

“Who else have you told about this?” he asked.

“Im Yong,” Mi-Soon said.

“And what did he say?”

“I’m not sure if he believes me or not.”

“I see.” Slowly, Wang Ja began to build up a picture of how to get Lin Yi and himself out of this predicament. If everything Mi-Soon said was true, this could dissolve the agreement in a snap. He just needed more evidence to back up his claims.

Ping sound went off in his headset. Wang Ja jumped to attention.

“Something wrong?” Mi-Soon asked.

“Oh, no,” her brother said. “Hang on.” He pulled up his translation program. The first page of the document came up translated into Chinese. Wang Ja dove into reading it.

“Wang Ja?” Mi-Soon asked. He kept reading. Nothing stood out in the beginning. There was a quote from the Book of Revelation in the beginning.

“Hello?” his sister asked. Wang Ja froze when he started on the line after the quote.

We are seeking out war. This modern world cannot go on like this. They don’t see the rot that is spreading. Russia is dying and so is the rest of the world. We need to purge it for the third World War approaching us. We’ve seen the end for fifty years now. Our savior the Woman in Red is here to usher us into victory.

Wang Ja’s face became so pale. He turned to Mi-Soon who had been calling him for the past couple of minutes.

“Mi-Soon,” he said.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Who is the Woman in Red?”

She lowered her eyes as she looked away from the screen. “I can’t tell you about that.”

“What do you mean? Why not?”

“Good night, my dear brother. Please be careful.” Mi-Soon disconnected from the chat before Wang Ja could ask another question. He stared at the screen. That conversation though brief, drew him into a fear that he thought couldn’t have existed. This must be bad if Mi-Soon would risk her life to reach out to him. It didn’t feel like a prank at all. The butler took a breath.

Right…

He saved the translated documents in a file hidden on his computer. No way he would let Ivan get his hands on anything on his laptop. This translation program would take days to translate everything. Fine by him. He can bide his time. That’s what he’s been doing all of this time. Wang Ja looked at the clock on his laptop. It would be six in the morning soon. He would have to make breakfast for the husband and wife soon.

The butler snorted to himself.

Like hell he was going to do this for the rest of his life. He and his sister needed to get out of this hell as soon as possible. But, did Lin Yi really want to leave her husband now?

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