Chapter 2: Howling
Arrival at location.
The team of misfits get to the destination, unaware of the approaching storm. Only the sound of the Howling wind can be heard whistling by. The gentle creak of nearby trees groan and wane. The rustling leaves fill their ears. A cascade of moonlight shines brightly upon the front of the large building to highlight and illuminate its creepy infrastructure.
"Is this even the correct place?" Byungchan asked as he looked at the place. Chan was climbing out of the back left passenger side and shut the door behind him.
"That's what the address says." Chan replied with a snappy tone. Byungchan ran his hand through his hair.
"Looks deserted to me. Where are the guards?"
"Don't be a dumbass. They're inside. They wouldn't be guarding the grass." Chan nudged the clueless male in the back which caused his body to lurch forward. Byungchan gave Chan a side-eye.
The leader was the last to leave the car. He locked their getaway vehicle once everyone had exited. Unfortunately, he had to overhear the two members' bickering.
"Okay dumb and dumber! Knock off the obnoxious questions. Mouth shut, weapons up!" Seungwoo cocked back the chamber of his handgun to load ammo in and then switched off the safety lever. Byung and Chan thought it best to stay silent so they wouldn't anger their boss any further. They grabbed their guns and began walking up to the museum.
Hanse, on the other hand, was quiet. He usually was, but this time around he was way more mute compared to on a normal day. And Sejun could tell. Subin was on Hanse's mind. He wondered if the youngest was alright by himself. Hanse's head was not in the game. Lim Sejun, the co-leader, could smell it. He was the kind of person who got off on messing with his teammates. It was a sort of high for him. He was known as the jester, after all.
"Don't tell me you are having cold feet as well?" Sejun nudged Hanse. He wore a devilish grin. Sejun enjoyed stirring up trouble and had a fake smile while doing it which meant he didn't really care. The silver haired man tried to get under the shorter male's skin since the day they began their shenanigans. Hanse knew better than that. It would not work on him.
Hanse looked over at the silver haired demon. He poked the inside of his mouth with his tongue to play with his lip ring.
"Sejun - just shut up and mind your own damn business." He quickly loaded up his gun and used the palm of his hand to slam the ammo chamber closed. He didn't give Sejun a second to retaliate. Hanse walked away to catch up with the rest of the group. Seungwoo impatiently waited for everyone to arrive before he opened the first door.
"Now that you're all here, have your guns at the ready. Keep your eyes peeled," He took a moment to look back to meet eyes with his subordinates.
"Got it." They replied all together in varying vocal tones. Seungwoo turned his attention back to the door and entered into the inner foyer. This next entrance was the trickiest. After business hours, it is secured with a keypad for a number lock. He was prepared to hack it in order to gain access to the building, but imagine his surprise when it squeaked open without so much as a push of a button. He barely touched it and watched it swing open. Somebody had already been here.
"What the fuck?" He whispered harshly. The other members watched from behind, not exactly seeing what was going on. Since it was night time, you couldn't see much from being cramped into a small and tight space. Seungwoo tried to process what all this meant.
"What's wrong?" Sejun asked. He kept his gun close to him. Seungwoo used the tip of his boot to push it open the rest of the way.
"Someone has been here."
Chan narrowed his eyes.
"What?" He said with a quivering voice. The leader stretched two fingers into the air to use as a silent order.
"Keep your weapons at the ready. Be ready for anything." Everyone nodded and took the leader's order seriously. They all filed into the museum one by one. It was very quiet inside of the place. So far there were no sign of any guards.
"There's nobody here?" Byungchan asked while he glanced around the room. He didn't hear any sign of life or movement. The others were on edge.
"Yeah. I haven't seen any security yet." Hanse said. It was the first time he spoke in a while. Seungwoo had to make a decision and fast.
"Scope out the area and sweep the floor. Be stealthy as you move. Look for anything suspicious.
Chan, Byungchan, and Sejun split from the other three and went to the west wing of the building to search. Seungwoo stayed behind with Hanse and Seungsik to search through the main room. It was a medium sized area. Not that large compared to the overall size of the building. It was organized neatly and had rows of small white tables made of wood. The walls of the museum were covered in various categories of art. Some of it was new and modern, others were old and antique. Since this was a private museum, only the people of pristine backgrounds could attend. It was a haven for the rich and the privileged to peruse and socialize. The item they were after was a diamond worth 1 billion ₩, said to be held in this very place and locked away behind thick military style glass, a high-tech security system armed with lasers, and finger print access. Seungwoo and the other two searched the room for it. Chan and Byungchan came up empty handed. There was only so much they could see with it being dark and hardly no lights on inside. Seungwoo found out the hard way that luck was not on their side. Or rather - the stars were definitely not aligned for him on this day. He walked up to the long awaited showcase. But what was waiting for him in the tampered container was nothing but disappointment and disdain. A single note laid in the middle of its contents, addressed to someone. It was signed with a purple lipstick kiss.
"Better luck next time, fellas!"
Seungwoo wasn't sure what to make of it, but he knew that it wasn't meant for him, or anyone on his team. One thing's for certain: whoever took the diamond couldn't have known they were coming. It was a very unusual cruel twist of fate.
Chan and Byungchan sensed the leader's distress and swiftly returned to his side.
"What happened?" Chan asked.
"Yeah. What's wrong? Did you find it?"
Without looking, Seungwoo angrily handed Byungchan the note in his hand. He pushed it into his chest and looked away with a scowl. He had to step away and recollect himself.
"Just see for yourself."
Byungchan unfolded the note that was slightly crumpled from Seungwoo's hold. Chan huddled close to read it with him.
"Wait - who is this?" Byungchan looked at Chan.
"That's what it looks like," He said. "We need to find the others and regroup. A wrench has been thrown into our plan." He put a hand on his hip and leaned his head back to gaze up at the ceiling. His heart was beating harder than before due to the pent up anger.
"Yes. Sounds like a good p-"
Out of nowhere, there was a loud crash coming from the left of them. It sounded like the other members were in the middle of a scuffle.
"What in the hell was that?" Byungchan asked. Chan merely shrugged, unsure of the answer himself.
"Sounds to me like whoever came before we did, hasn't left the premises." Chan replied. He was looking in the direction of where the sound came from. It was dark and hard to see, but they could just make out a few silhouettes tumbling down the hallway toward them. It was a hallway that connected a multitude of rooms which contained highly valuable pieces of history. As Seungwoo and the others studied the darkness for a bit more, they noticed a hooded figure wearing a fancy mask emerging out of it like a bat out of hell. They were small, but were extremely spry and nimble. The stray thief wasn't paying attention to Seungwoo because Sejun, Hanse, and Seungsik were chasing from behind.
"Seungwoo! Stop them!" Seungsik called out once he spotted the teal haired leader while rounding the corner. Seungwoo readied his stance and lifted the gun up to aim his sights on the thief to shoot in case it came down to it. Chan and Byungchan spread out to the left and right sides of their leader to guarantee the maximum amount of space in order to cover more ground. As the other trio came into view, Chan saw that Seungsik and Sejun were fairly roughed up with small cuts on their faces, and a few bruises already swelling up on their heads. That meant they got into a fight with this unknown person. They didn't appear to have any visible injuries.
"Looks like they got their butts kicked." Byungchan scoffed. Seungwoo laughed and shot him back a look.
"Stay focused. Be ready to apprehend that individual. We need answers."
The figure knew they would get surrounded if they weren't careful. They tried to veer to the right and sneak past Chan who had taken Seungwoo's left side. But Sejun was hot on their tail. He pushed his body to go faster, and used more energy to lunge forward more. He sheathed his gun temporarily so he could focus on catching the other burglar. Sejun stretched his arm out, reaching for the back of their hoodie. He managed to grab it in time and rolled onto the floor after he tackled the suspect with them in his arms in order to cease their movements. They struggled and fought back, but it was no use. Sejun got to his feet and harshly pulled them to their feet. He had the person by the arm. In the middle of the tussle, the mask fell off the perp's face and clattered to the ground. What they weren't expecting, was to see a female's face behind it. Seungwoo's jaw dropped and his eyes widened upon finding out that the hooded figure was actually a woman. He never felt so agitated.
"You guys were beaten up by a girl?" He eyeballed them and kept his hands on his gun. You could see the animosity written across his face. Sejun secured the woman by folding her arm behind her back. She grimaced from the pressure he was applying to her. Sejun clicked his tongue in response to the leader's crass words. He knew Seungwoo would reprimand him for this.
Seungsik frowned and spoke between strained breaths.
"W-well, yeah. She was r-really strong." He mumbled under his breath and brushed his messy hair back into place.
Seungwoo walked over and stood in front of the woman, looking her up and down. She had shoulder length blonde hair and green eyes. Upon looking closely, she indeed had a much smaller build. She was shorter than all of the males present. But she had a wild look in her eyes.
"How could you let someone who's five foot nothing overpower you?" He looked between Sejun Seungsik respectively. The girl laughed out of pure amusement. How tragic to know how much they underestimated her skills.
"She was fast and agile. I didn't even see it coming." Seungsik admitted to defend himself from the embarrassment. He spoke in a soft pout and couldn't meet eyes with anyone. Sejun rolled his eyes out of disgust.
"Shut up, Seungsik!" He yelled as he made sure to hold the girl in place. She ignored all the bickering and took a step toward Seungwoo, who was still standing in front of her a couple feet away.
"Oh! Now you are definitely my type." She used her free arm to lean in close and slide a slender finger down his slightly exposed chest. For somebody who was completely surrounded, she sure was acting mighty brave. Seungwoo scoffed and brushed her hand off of him to reject her advances.
"Stop squirming." Sejun growled and forcibly yanked her back into the spot he had her in. Making sure to pin both of her arms this time. She glanced up at him with an angry expression. Seungwoo stepped forward, closing the gap between them just a little bit more. His large height towered over her tiny frame.
"What exactly are you doing here? Are you the one that took the gem?"
Hanse took that moment to step up and lay a hand on his shoulder.
"We found her in one of those rooms, poking around. I'm pretty sure she's the one." He spoke with a soft voice so only Seungwoo could hear it. He nodded his head at Hanse's words while keeping his eyes on the woman. She didn't answer him, so he asked again.
"Do you want to tell me your business with that artifact? Where are you hiding it?" Seungwoo said, staring at her with a very dark expression. He had his leader face on. The one that was empty and emotionless. Most people found him intimidating, so he liked to emphasize that. The girl only laughed at him.
"Why would I tell you that? It's first come, first served, right?" She tilted her head, seemingly to mock the teal haired man. She was taunting him, which boiled his blood. But he played it cool.
"Do you want to play it the hard way? We can get the information out of you like that." He raised his arm and pointed the barrel of his gun right between her lovely green eyes. She gave him a soft, yet - painful smile.
"Trust me when I say that nothing any of you could do to me, would ever be as bad as how I was trained and raised to become what I am."
What she said struck something deep inside Byungchan, and caused him to think. He furrowed his eyebrows and his head shifted to one side. He was confused, but remained quiet.
I wonder what she meant by that...?
The girl hummed a soft tune as if she were growing bored. Sejun bent down and spoke into her ear.
"Stop speaking in riddles and answer him bitch. Or this will get ugly."
She giggled and looked around at the misfits.
"Oh, Boys. Boys. Boys! It doesn't matter how many of you there are or how many big scary guns you are holding in order to compensate for something else - I can take on all of you." She moves her head to one side, letting her blond hair fall to one shoulder. She knew she was outnumbered, which meant she had to play to her strengths. She was a woman, so she could utilize that as well. Her eyes scanned every member of this rag-tag group as she lightly licked her bottom lip.
"Even though you're all so good looking. I would hate to have to mess up your pretty faces." She winked, having no care in the world.
"Cut the fucking crap you crazy bitch and tell us where you hid the diamond." Sejun said as a warning. He squeezed her arms to apply more pressure on her to get her to talk. He didn't care that she was a girl, or that he was hurting her. She groaned in pain and writhed within his old.
"You're pissing me off, you silver haired bitch! Have you no respect for a delicate lady like myself?" She took this opportunity to slam her boot onto his foot as hard as she could. Sejun flinched which loosened his hold on her. Her moves were swift and precise. She left no room for error, and didn't back down. Next she lifted up her leg and swung it back to kick his knee so he would fall. She flipped over him and wrapped her legs around his neck, slamming him down to the hard concrete floor. Seungwoo and the rest of the boys trained their guns on her, but they couldn't shoot her knowing Sejun was near her. And not while they were inside an enclosed space where the bullets could ricochet and hit each other.
"Shit!" Seungwoo cursed out. He holstered his gun and lunged for the female thief with excellent combative skills.
The blonde sidestepped out of his way, but Seungsik dove in to grab her while her attention was on Seungwoo. She quickly noticed him and kicked the gun out of his hand. She immediately jabbed him in the stomach with a little bit of force and watched him fall just like Sejun.
"Sorry! You're too slow!" She said in sing-song. Her relentless taunts had Seungwoo seething through his teeth. It fueled the fire inside of his body like kinder being thrown into a fireplace. Chan was next to try and stop her. He was the closest. However, she disarmed him too and cartwheeled away from his incoming attack. Chan stumbled and fell into Byungchan who was standing directly behind the girl. They collide and groan from the hard impact. They were blundering idiots, watching them fall and trip all over themselves. They had decent skills for combat, but that went out the window and dropped to a definite zero when compared to the woman's skill levels. She had made quick work of them in no amount of time, which amused her greatly. To her, it was an easy 1 v 6. Her talent in gymnastics really played a big role. But even she became a bit too cocky sometimes. She didn't see Sejun come up from behind. He wrapped one arm around her throat and put her in a headlock, thus capturing her. She gasped and coughed, using her nails to claw at his strong arms.
"Not so tough now, are you?" He licked up a spot of blood on his mouth where it had accumulated and dried. It came from a fist to the mouth, courteous of the firey blonde haired thief in the fight they had earlier. She wasn't at all intimidated. In fact, she started to laugh maniacally at their obliviousness.
"It won't matter for long. You will be done for soon." She giggled even through closed lips.
That gained Seungwoo's attention.
"What are you talking about?" He eyed her suspiciously.
"Just know that I think it's such a shame. I was having such a good time." She shrugged her shoulders, even with Sejun's arms around her tender neck. She still had that confident aura about her and never lost it. Seungwoo figured this woman knew something that they weren't aware of. He walked over and grabbed her arm.
"Cut the shit and tell us what you know!" He said loudly. He was serious, and also tired of her mind games. Seungwoo's face was dangerously close to hers. She lifted a finger and tapped one ear, giving him a sign.
"They are after me, but now that they are on their way, you guys can fall on the blade for me so they can get off my back. I can't be the one to get caught. You should suffice, though. While I make my grand escape." She winked a seductive green eye at the leader. Fear began to settle into Seungwoo's teammates as everyone started to realize what was happening.
"You triggered the silent alarms, didn't you? And the police are on their way." He said slowly. The gun he had in has hand trembled.
"What do we do?" Chan said across the room.
"I'm not hearing the sirens. Maybe she's bluffing." Byungchan added, trying to keep Seungwoo calm.
"I'm not sure, but we need to think of-"
While they were distracted, the woman overthrew Sejun once more and made a mad dash to the staircase on the other side of the room. They led to an upstairs parlor for private showings of movies and documentaries.
"Sorry, Boys. I would stay and chat, but I have somewhere to be. I had fun. Say hello to the Special Forces for me!" She wagged her fingers as she ran up the steps.
"What the fuck did she just say?" Sejun said while pulling himself off of the floor. He put his hands on his knees to brace himself. He looked at Seungwoo, whose eyes were wide and glossy. Chan shook his head at Sejun, not sure how to respond. That name sparked fear into anyone who heard it... even Han Seungwoo.
"Fuck! That's not good. We need that diamond and to get the hell out of here." He lifted his weapon up and pointed it at the female who had bested them all. The others followed suit. Seungsik and the co-leader ran after her, and began to shoot but they were too late. She had moved out of their line of sight and disappeared upstairs. She dug the pricy gem from an empty crate she hid it in and jumped out, and away from the museum on a zip line to safety. The guys cursed out, pissed that they couldn't get her in time. But now, their luck has ran out. What came next, was certainly not something they could have ever prepared for. It was definitely not what they had in mind to deal with. The plan failed and the world crashed down all around them. The Howling storm finally hit them as it sent shivers down their spines. The only thing that Seungwoo, Sejun, and the others could hope and pray for, is if their Mayday could be heard and answered. They heard a new voice scream something from behind them as the front doors to private museum bust open.
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