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Cover designed by min jung kim
Published by i-ePUB, Inc.
ISBN No. 978-89-6766-225-7
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T. 82-2-3281-2665 (book)
#1323, Officetel 3 Danji, 34 Sajik-ro 8 Gilm Jongno-gu, Seoul, Korea
June 6, 1944
The Allied forces carried out a major amphibious landing operation on German-occupied Normandy.
Jackal still remembers that day quite vividly.
Bombers were covering the sky, the burning grounds, and burnt bodies that were scorched to the point of unrecognition.
In that hellish reality,
in order to save his life savior,
in order to stay alive,
and in order to survive the war,
he eventually reached out and grabbed his gun.
When the coldness of the trigger touched his finger, the instinct of the hunter roaming around Mt. Baekdu stirred up.
“I can’t die in a place like this. My mother…I have to meet my mother!”
This was the moment the legend of the “Devil of Cherbourg” began.
And on July 1944, the allied forces set an enormous price on the Devil of Cherbourg. Dead or alive.
However, even after the war had ceased, no one knew the whereabouts of the man who had put fear into the minds of the entire allied forces. Even to this day.
In the golden cigarette case, there were about two American Lucky Strike cigarettes. Eric Schmidt took one, put it in his mouth, and then started to examine his gun.
Ppsh 41. The gun that he captured during the Eastern Front in 1942, and used until the end of the war. There were a lot of ‘kill’ symbols that were engraved at the butt plate of the gun, which was made out of Zelkova. Just by glancing at it, you were able to see more than two hundred markings.
It was a ridiculous number that someone could simply disregard as a bluff.
An American captain who was watching him and his gun’s plate, whispered to his fellow officer who was standing beside him.
“What? He’s just a commissioned officer. You’re saying that he killed that many?”
“He’s from Einsatzgruppen.”
The colleague standing beside him glared at Eric Schmidt’s protruding cheekbone with despise.
“…That son of a bitch.”
The American captain stared at the dreary building covered in darkness.
“He’s cut out for this.”
It was five-story multifamily apartment with parts of the walls already crumbled down by the bombing and shelling, revealing several of the units interior. It was a building literally on the brink of collapsing.
No one could possibly live there. But, even in the broken down apartment, you were able to see the faint lights and hear the quiet cries of the babies, proof that a few people were still continuing their lives in that rumble.
“Well, Mr. American captain.”
Eric Schmidt opened his mouth as he dropped his burnt cigarette butt to the ground.
“So, you’re saying that if we drag out all the people living there, you will acquit us?”
The lack of emotions in his eyes and his impassive speech spooked the American officers, who just answered by nodding their heads.
“To be precise, we will be erasing your records. Eric Schmidt and his crew will have never existed in the first place.
“Sounds great. But,”
Eric Schmidt looked around.
“Is it necessary to mobilize such a large amount of military force and equipment for a simple evacuation operation? “
Numerous amount of war weapons where placed, centering the apartment.
A heavy tank, an anti-tank gun, an anti-aircraft gun, and a machine gun – weapons that once made the world tremble in fear during the Third Reich. If these go off, the deteriorating building will disappear without a trace. Along with everyone inside.
An American captain, with a nametag that read ‘J. Cunnings’, smiled at Eric Schmidt’s question and answered.
“Because it’s necessary.”
As Eric Schmidt lifted his hands, he felt a sense of anxiety behind the captain’s smile.
A group of soldiers wearing the Stahlhelmㅡthe symbol of the German Armyㅡ approached the building with Eric Schmidt’s lead.
The marks that were on their helmets were nowhere to be seen with the occasional glints from the moonlight. Only traces of rough scratches remained.
Because now, their past will be destroyed and they too will disappear.
They are murderers and slaughterers of the human race.
And in order to survive, they’re carrying out their last operation ordered by their new master.
Their employers were watching the Einsatzgruppen’s advance with cold, sullen eyes.
“You think he’d really be there?”
“Of course. The prophecy of the Cold Dreamer has never been wrong.”
“I hope that’s true. I might be able to know… the strength of one who has reached level 5.”
An intense murderous look flashed across J. Cunnings’ blue eyes.
Blue light bathed his right hand, which he had thrusted up towards the sky with his palm facing the sky, as if trying seize it.
A captain watched the scene with intrigue. The name emblazoned on his name tag was J. McCauley.
“So, Jericho, you’ve gained another achievement.”
After offering his congratulations, James McCauley turned around and continued to speak.
“But keep in mind. We always have to remain as watchers until the very end.”
He had his back turned, but in front of him were numerous people in American uniforms.
Everyone had their heads bowed, and in their hands were antique swords instead of the Garand rifles, an American symbol.
Jericho knew what that meant.
“The swords of shaman. It’s quite ostentatious…for insurance.”
Searchlights simultaneously turned on and brightened the surroundings by etching a huge light circle on the building.
Below that, a whistle, along with harsh German, filled the air.
“Pigs! All of you! Crawl out, now!”
The eviction operation of Einsatzgruppen began.
With expressionless eyes, Eric Schmidt’s fingers where on the tiger while staring at his subordinates hauling out the residents.
The commands of the soldiers were piercing through the air and residents were coming out of the building one after the other, with their hands behind their heads and eyes filled with intense fear.
“First floor, eviction completed.”
A subordinate reported by slanting his hand up towards the sky and giving a Nazi salute.
Seeing that, Eric Schmidt mockingly replied with an American salute.
“Remember, Sergeant. It’s the American Dream….the American Dream.”
The evacuation of the building was conducted smoothly.
They drove out the residents from the first, second, and third floors in order, leaving only the fourth and fifth floors.
The number of households from the third to fifth floors, suffered severely from a bombardment, leaving only half of the residence to be hauled out.
‘What the? They’re goin’ to give us our lives and freedom back for this?”
The task was too easy and the compensation was too high compared to the difficulty of the job. There was no need to have asked the Einsatzgruppen. The job was easy enough for some homeless good-for-nothings to have accomplished it.
But why were we insisted on being brought here?
It would’ve been different if it was the German Wehrmacht or even Hitler’s guard, the SS. Even then, it would’ve been a heavy burden to release a group of serious criminal offenders like Einsatzgruppen.
Eric Schmidt, unable to think straight with all the complexity, took out another Lucky Strike cigarette from the cigarette case and put it in his mouth.
While he was at a prison camp, his colleagues created a common excuse which they used to defend themselves.
‘We just followed orders from above.’
However, from Eric Schmidt’s point of view, that was ludicrous. For him, who once held life-or-death authority of others, the person who had the last word, was most important.
And the winner, the Allied Forces, had the last word.
He took in another drag on the cigarette and thought that even thinking about freedom was a luxury.
If I didn’t accept this request, I would’ve been taken to the Nürnberg, gotten a cursory trial, and faced death by hanging. Or maybe, would’ve been taken to the Soviets and died miserably in the cold colony of Siberia.
After clearing his mind, Eric Schmidt took out a pocket watch and checked the time.
“The work suddenly slowed down. What happened?”
It took 15 minutes for the evacuation of the first three floors. So, approximately 5 minutes per.
But, after receiving the completion report on the third, 10 minutes have passed and no report was given.
If something went wrong, sounds of gun shots would have filled the air or a signal equivalent to this, but …. nothing.
The sergeant, who stood next to him, shouted towards the apartment.
However, there weren’t any answers.
The sergeant took out his whistle and blew.
The sharp sound echoed up to the sky of the ruined Berlin.
And there were still silence. There were no answers coming from the building.
“I’ll check it out.”
The sergeant released the safety on his gun and started to walk forward. But, right then, Eric Schmidt blocked his way.
“Follow me. I’ve got to check this for myself.”
Eric Schmidt placed his fingers on the trigger of the ppsh-41, his favorite, and leaded.
The darkness of the apartment entrance, which looked like the doors to hell, welcomed them.
The soldier with the lantern came up front, lifting the darkness and revealing the real appearance of the entrance.
Shards of bricks, wastes and unknown black lumps of metal were spread all over the place.
Eric Schmidt walked pass the entrance and climbed up the stairs without any hesitation. The stench of urine hit him after a couple of steps up.
“This apartment was quite expensive. A lot of men came from Bayern lived here.”
A soldier from Berlin told his colleague.
“Now, it became a resort for beggars.”
Eric Schmidt responded.
Finally, they reached the entrance of the fourth floor.
Eric Schmidt got his subordinate to check for any reactions from the fourth floor.
The eyes of the Einsatzgruppen became cold.
Countless guns were being reloaded simultaneously, making the sounds unite as one.
“Fritz. Erich. Lead out.”
Two tall soldiers climbed the stairs, holding a lantern. They slowly climbed the stairs, step by step, lighting the area of the 4th floor. Once they were in the hallway, they scattered and cautiously observed the surroundings.
“There’s nothing wrong here either.”
Eric Schmidt slowly climbed the stairs, his crew right behind him.
The moment he removed his feet from the last step, Fritz’s voice loudly echoed in the hallway.
“There’s someone there.”
Eric Schmidt quickly headed towards that way.
“…Hey. What are you doing?”
“Stop playing around and stand up. Hey!”
The soldiers gathered around the soldier.
Eric Schmidt pushed the soldiers back and went to the soldier in question. The soldier was frozen stiff, like a statue.
“…Is he dead?”
Eric Schmidt shook his head to the question.
The warmth of the body was still there.
He was definitely breathing,
but his pupils were diluted.
The soldier wasn’t able to move, as if he was under someone’s spell. He didn’t budge even when someone slapped his face or shook his shoulders. The soldiers, who had initially thought this was a joke, turned serious.
‘What the hell happened?’
It was a strange.
Suddenly, Eric Schmidt recalled his initial question – that the job was too easy compared to the compensation that was being offered.
“…Can it be?…
The moment he harbored doubts again and turned his head, Eric Schmidt saw something.
It was something glittering due to the blood.
It looked like a gem or a shining star.
However, when he realized that the identity of the blood-red glittering light was due to somebody’s eyes watching them, Eric Schmidt felt an absolute horror that he never had experienced before.
Gun shots rang in the night sky of dark Berlin.
With the sudden “bang” of a gunshot, the windows of a few apartments broke and its debris scattered down.
Standing in front of the searchlight and watching the shards of glass flying in all directions, two U.S. captains looked at each other.
“It finally started.”
“Right… After 78 years…the hunt of the Blood Demon has begun!”
Heavy tank Tiger(PzKpfw Ⅵ Ausf. E, Tigger1)
During the Great War, the engine of the formidable tank that was feared by the Allied Forces ran, roared like a tiger.
The 56-caliber 88mm gun barrel was moving, pointing towards the window on the fourth floor of the apartment building.
“High explosive loaded. Wait for fire.”
James McCauley walked toward the Tigger tank, listening to the loud shouts from the tank’s commander.
Gracefully, James got on the gun turret of the tanks in a single leap. The tank commander, who was observing his movements, was amazed.
The height between the gun turret and the ground was about three meters. It would’ve been impossible even for the gold medalist during the Berlin Olympics, which took place on these grounds nine years ago, to be able to jump from the ground to the gun turret in a single jump.
No. It wasn’t humanly possible.
But the U.S. captain did it so easily.
“Mind your own business and just adjust your aim correctly.”
James McCauley kept an eye on the situation inside the building by collecting the strength of vision.
Perhaps, all the Einsatzgruppens were killed.
“It’s like using poison to get rid of another poison.”
He ordered the tank commander to open fire.
The bombardment was pointed to the center of the fourth floor, the farthest window to the right.
With the command from the tank commander, the Tigger’s gun barrel blasted fire.
The shots whistled in a straight line and struck the fourth floor walls.
The destructive power was strong enough to shake the earth’s axis. The building started to tremble and shake of its debris.
“Again! Next window!”
The skilled tank driver reloaded in seconds, and the Tigger tank mercilessly bombarded the apartment windows from right to left, one by one.
“It reminds me of Stalingrad.”
The tank commander spoke reminiscently while watching the building being destroyed.
“Oh, you served there as well? You’re lucky to have survived.”
“Before we were captured, I was transported to the rear base due my injuries.”
The tank commander pushed his upper body with his firm arms and revealed his legs hidden inside the turret.
There was nothing below the knees. The legs weren’t there. Nothing was left.
“Why haven’t you been discharged?”
“If I had, I wouldn’t’ve even survived this far, because my hometown is Königsberg.”
“Yes. My family was engulfed under the lake.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
The barrel of Tigger continued to fire during their talk.
Having already been attacked by previous bombings, the building no longer had the power to withstand another attack. The building looked like it was going to topple over, but instead it started to crumble like sand.
A huge cloud of dust rose to the air and began to swarm towards the tank.
James cheered and watched the building fall apart.
Once the dust settled, the final remains of the building slowly began to reveal itself. The luxurious apartment, that once was built for singles in downtown Berlin, was now half collapsed and the other barely standing while exposing its steel frames.
“They should be coming out slowly…”
Right then, another U.S. officer, Jericho Cunnings, was able to see a faint shadow amongst the dust.
The crouched shadow suddenly straightened its back, looked around and started to frantically run towards them.
A group of German soldiers, who were behind the searchlight, were ready to fire.
“Hold your fire!”
Jericho restrained them by lifting his hands because the movement that was made by the man coming towards them was totally different from the movement he was looking for.
“Hey, James. How’s it?”
He called his colleague who climbed up over the tank.
James came down from the tank and stood next to Jericho and opened his mouth.
“He’s an Einsatzgruppen.”
The man, who showed himself, had on his military helmet with his troop marks scraped off and was wearing a camouflage jacket.
“Huh..? Aren’t you Commander Eric Schmidt?”
Hollow cheeks, exceptionally protruding temples, and emotionless blue eyes.
The man who showed himself was Eric Schmidt, the man who was just with them.
He stopped in front of James and Jericho.
“What happened in there?”
Eric Schmidt did not answer James’ question.
Suddenly, Eric Schmidt grabbed his neck and let out a yell, filled with great pain.
Followed by a seizure, Eric Schmidt laid down on the ground, trembling and crying out in pain. And suddenly became limp and stopped moving.
“There’s only one man who could’ve done this.”
Once again, Jericho and James realized who they were dealing with.
James looked back and cried out loudly,
“All units and arms! Enforce and concentrate all shootings towards the building!”
The bombing of Tigger tanks were leading out the tremendous firearms that began a relentless attack towards the building.
Machine guns, anti-aircraft guns, and anti-tank guns were fired, one after another.
Various metallic bullet shells were strewn on the ground and a massive amount of bullets and bomb shells were surrounding the building.
The building that was barely standing started to stagger after the second bombardment of the Tigger, and fell to the ground without leaving a trace after the third.
Another huge amount of dust spread the surroundings.
All fires were silenced at James’s order.
It was finally quiet in the ruined city.
The silence was broken by a signaler holding a communications device.
“The Soviets are requesting to know what’s happening here.”
“Tell them that this is occupied by the U.S military and that whatever happens here is none of the Red son of a bitches concern!”
Due to his stern thundering command, the terrified signaler nodded his head and disappeared.
James, who had watched the situation, smiled and tapped Jericho’s shoulder and said,
“Well~ you’re made out to be a soldier. Why don't you become one for real?”
“I know. If I knew how much fun being a bully was, I wouldn’t have learned Wugong.”
While Jericho was smiling, something caught his eye.
“What’s that? Is he another Einsatzgruppen?”
Another soldier was awkwardly crawling out from the buildings rumbles.
From his clothes and helmet, he seemed like one of the misfortunate soldiers who were sent in before. Since Eric Schmidt was dead, he was probably another guy.
“Well.. How about killing him? I think it might be a merciful death for the soldier.”
James recalled the horrifying death of Eric Schmidt; lying down on the ground, trembling with a seizure, he might have died from the worst pain in the world.
The method is perhaps called ‘Elysian Finger’.
It is often a well-known method that ‘the presence’ often used when he handled his enemies.
“Yo, sniper. Put a bullet to his head.”
He didn’t want to see the same death again, so Jericho ordered a German soldier to shoot him.
The soldier hesitated at first, but once Jericho firmly ordered him to do so, he had no other choice. The war criminals from the SS had no choice but to follow these unknown men in US armed forces uniforms, for these men were the ones with full authority.
‘Bitches. What are they? I’m sure they’re not from the U.S Army.’
He saw that the U.S Armed Forces general, who was the camp commander, was being controlled by the captains for the U.S Forces.
They were the ones who even got Eric Schmidt, a notorious Jew hunter, released.
Perhaps they are ranked higher than the US army.
With that thought, the sniper placed the head of the faltering soldier in the center of his scope and lined his aim.
“…Don’t think badly of this. After all, we’re all doing this to survive.”
And his finger pulled the trigger.
With the gun shot, the man will fall. That’s the magic that one can see from the scope.
However, the snipper witnessed something bizarre.
The soldier didn’t fall down.
His magic didn’t happen.
Was my aim off?
The sniper fixed the bolt again, checked the load, and aimed at the target again with his scope.
This time, he aimed for the body.
With his new aim, even if there was a slight mistake in zero coordinates, he would’ve still shot him.
He pulled trigger once again.
Did his spell work?
The soldier’s silhouette in the scope shook greatly.
But the sniper witnessed an unbelievable sight.
The guy that should’ve fallen down smiled towards him.
Under the shadow of the helmet, he deliberately revealed his palms where a pair of bloody lights were shining through.
The thing contained in his hands was the Mau coal.
The moment the snipper screamed out, the world in his scope shattered and turned dark.
Watching the sniper fall down while blood was spewing from his eye, James and Jericho felt that the time had come.
“Target! Phantom at front! Fire!”
The barrel of the Tigger was fired.
The moment the shells flew, James thought about the exquisite trick that the Phantom just demonstrated.
‘He grabbed the flying bullets and bounced it in reverse with his fingers. Even though he is the master of Tai Chi Chuan, it is a difficult trick. He is indeed the Blood Demon.”
The Blood Demon, the leader of the Blood Cult.
Nobody among the Wulins has ever achieved such level.
He defeated all the challenges of the contemporary masters and was crowned the throne among the Wulins, as he defeated the attacks from the Ten masters of China.
He was an extraordinary pioneer, who did not turn his eyes to the suffering of the people moaning under the Yuan Dynasty rule.
“Why would you randomly divide a whole? The Jianghu(江湖) and the world are one, not two.”
He insisted that the Wulins change the world. A number of young Wulins agreed with his argument. They dreamed of a new world that the Blood Demon would bring.
However, when the Blood Demon revealed his true intentions, the Wulins realize that heaven sent the unmatchable master down to destroy the existences of the Wulins.
With his appearance, the Wulins were extinct.
Through tremendous sacrifices, the Blood Demon was able to be killed, but it was not the end, but was only the beginning.
Even with the memory of its previous life, the Wulins will have victory at the end of the fight against the enemy of humankind who endlessly revives.
The Blood Demon was staring at the high explosives of Tigger, which were flying towards him.
In order for him to survive, the moment the bombardments started, he should’ve ran away as far as possible by equally spreading all his lightweight movement skills across his body.
Because the moment the bomb explodes, the fire and flames would burn everything down.
Every human body has its limit. Even though you might be the strongest warrior, you wouldn’t be able to survive the flames from an explosion the heated higher than a thousand degrees.
At that thought, James started to doubt the Blood Demon’s actions.
Did he give up or something?’
The Blood Demon should be around twenty years old.
It was enough time for him to learn the knowledge of this era.
Shortwave radios would’ve broadcasted about the war night and day, and would also have seen the destructive power of the bombs falling from the sky.
And just three months ago, the Blood Demon would likely have directly seen the military prestige of the Red Army.
If he saw it, the Blood Demon was supposed to avoid the shells.
Unless there was another way.
At that moment, James saw…
He saw the change that started to happen to the Blood Demon’s body.
The Blood Demon’s feet landed on the ground.
It felt as though the earth was shaking.
It was the smallest of movements amidst the silence.
The Blood Demon quietly extended the other foot and bent his two hands like a hook. He then stretched the hands towards his outstretched foot.
Its bloody eyes glared at the huge chunks of metal flying without any motion.
With firm shouts, the Blood Demon caught the shells with both his hook like hands.
James and Jericho shouted at the same time.
High fused explosives go off at the smallest movements, because it was made to kill men and horses.
It was designed to explode anything as light as a piece of paper.
But an unbelievable scene unfolded before the eyes of the two officers.
The moment the cannon touched the Blood Demon’s hands, he pushed himself with his other foot, as light as a feather, and grabbed the cannon. He used the other foot to create a centrifugal force and slowly begun to spin himself.
The cannon soon lost its kinetic energy from the Blood Demon’s spinning.
The Blood Demon continued its whirling, as though God has made it into a top.
And every ordinary men who watched the scene was in a massive shock.
“….Is it human?”
“…That…is a w..w…witch! The black witch from the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales!”
The moment the helmet the Blood Demon wore flew off, golden blonde hair soared up to the sky, scattering light like a bunch of stars.
After finishing its rotation, the Blood Demon held the bullets to its side, and looked around. It was a girl with blond hair and sad eyes.
James was in a bigger shock once he found out it was a she.
‘The Blood Demon…was reborn as a woman? That’s why she couldn’t be found for so many years…He abandoned his pride. Blood Demon…!’
There wasn’t much time to think.
Jericho shouted urgently.
“What are you lookin’ at! All fires present!”
At that moment, the silhouette of the Blood Demon started to erupted.
It seemed like the sounds made when lumps of metal cut through the air.
Tremendous explosions took place in front of the tanks.
The horrible flames struck Jericho directly.
The screams of Jericho echoed.
That was not the end. Before we knew it, the Blood Demon was slaughtering away unlucky soldiers in her way as she reached for the 20mm antiaircraft gun.
One guy with one blow. Due to the Blood Demon’s attack, the soldiers spewed out blood and fell dead.
The remaining soldiers tried to shoot her, but the Blood Demon cleverly left a few soldiers in front of her as her shield.
“Just shoot her!”
Once a soldier shouted out, the MG42 machine gun started to fire while the making the sounds of chainsaws scratching.
The machine gun bullets broke through the soldiers that were shielding the Blood Demon and went straight for her.
Even the great Blood Demon mustn’t had any choices for she hid her body behind the crumbled walls.
Nevertheless, the bun bullets kept firing around the surroundings without stopping.
As the Blood Demon disappeared for a moment, other soldiers who briefly fell to into a panic mode, soon recovered consciousness and concentrated all fires on the collapsed wall.
It was literally raining bullets.
“Hurry! Take her down while we have the MG42 working!”
Although they were defeated, they were once carefully chosen soldiers for the Special Forces.
They were showing systematic movements that surprised even the unknown enemy.
It were the Tigger tanks that would make the Blood Demon meet her fate.
Even though it got hit by the shells, only the front part was slightly scorched. The Tigger was heat coated against the U.S bazookas. That was why the degree of the attacks merely left a scratch.
“Hurry! Hurry! Bring her down with the walls! That fuckin’ monster!”
James who had some time, ran next to the tanks that aimed at the wall where the Blood Demon was hiding.
“Jericho! You OK?!”
His comrade laid unconsciously next to the tank.
Jericho, his partner, his rival….and his best friend.
James lifted him, hoping for his safety.
Once he did, James couldn’t repress his astonishment.
Jericho’s left side of the body was gone. There was nothing left where his left arms and legs were. From the side of his stomach to his ribs, there was deep wound, as though it was cut out, and clear light-toned intestines were oozing out between the wounds.
James called Jericho’s name, pushing the intestines that were flowing out with his hands.
“Jericho! Wake up! God damn you! How can you die so easily? You have waited twenty years…! Twenty years!”
However, Jericho was already losing his light. Jericho said, looking into the distance with his eyes slowly closing,
“I…t…it… was an honor for me to witness… the art of the Blood Demon… an honor..!”
Jericho let out a cry and breathed his last breath.
“Son of a bitch…!”
The eyes of James, who had just lost his colleague, were blazing with anger. And all of a sudden, there was a huge explosion from the back.
“ Urgh… I can’t fight against that!”
Soldiers who were fighting were running away. Even the shots of the machine gun, which seemed to go on forever, finally stopped.
Hand grenades were dancing in the sky above.
One hand grenade seemed to fly to the sky as if it had its own will, and then swooped down onto the soldiers like a hawk.
“Is that the application of telekinesis…?”
It wasn’t the end. The Blood Demon, who had stopped shooting the soldiers with a hand grenade, came out from behind the wall, rushed to the Tigger tanks that were aimed at her and attacked the front part of it.
A strange sound, like the ringing of a bell, echoed the battlefield.
The screams from the crew echoed in the tank.
“The technique of In-between strike..”
The Blood Demon kept with its fierce attacks.
She defeated the SS Elite troops that surrounded her by herself.
James felt an endless fear towards the overwhelming Wugong of the Blood Demon.
“This…this is the Blood Demon…”
However he was not a person who easily gave into fear.
He roared with a voice emanating from the deepest part of his abdomen.
“Wutang swords! Prepare for attack!”
The guys in the U.S. military clothes, who lined up behind the searchlight simultaneously took off and pulled out their swords.
“To our Union!”
Simultaneously, dozens of blades soared towards the sky.
The life in the ruin, which had lost its function as a city, was miserable and filled with poverty. The dirt was scattered all over the streets and dead bodies that still weren’t collected were decaying with a bad smell in the collapsed building.
Those who live in the rubble of the dirty city could only make a living by the distributions from the occupied troops. As always, the distributions were insufficient. Hunger was prevalent, and a majority of the citizens suffered from lack of protein.
Medication was even more scarce. Even those who could live with the help of antibiotics were dying with fevers and delirium.
The worst part was the lack of security. Occupation Forces only secured their area of responsibility, and did not pay any attention to the civilian district.
At night, the city turned into a lawless zone. When the sun set, street gangs, ex-soldiers, and the outlaws went around the streets to find a scapegoat to pour out their anger and resentment on.
In such a desperate place, there were people who seized opportunities and took actions smartly.
They were the traders. The classic law of economics, which stated that the scarcer goods, the greater the benefits, motivated them to take actions.
The traders did business with colorful items such as provisions, favorite food, medications, and even weapons. Sometimes they were able to earn a huge profit. Bartering small amounts of medicine for an equivalent weight of jewelry became a common thing.
Most of the sale sources of the traders were from the military depot of the Allied forces. Those who did not have any relationship with the depot manager gathered goods by looking through the ruined houses. Traders called their inferior colleagues as hyenas.
The building was covered in debris and broken glasses, and the sun shone through the holes in the ceiling.
Two guys were grabbing things that they thought would make money, exploring the ruins with a mountain picket. They were collectors. They carefully searched through the rumbles of the building, usually unable to carry out anything.
Although they had guessed it, they did not expect another hyena group to have cleaned the place off completely.
“Hey, Jackal. How about going back? There’s nothing here.”
Hans Graham called off the search and shouted towards this colleague who stood on the other side, looking somewhere esle.
The guy called Jackal did not move, standing vacantly.
“Did you find something?”
Jackal turned his head to the question.
Dark brown eyes, black hair, and a thin sharp-lined face. His face was the face of Asians.
The people in the ruins sarcastically named him after a wild animal that was prowling in the African wilderness.
An outsider without a hometown and a name.
A guy who lived off searching the ruins and the dead bodies.
A mere part of the useless Berlin crowd, Jackal and his past was only known by a few people.
No, perhaps no one.
Not knowing about him meant that they did not know how much reward was offered for his head.
Jackal pointed to the front. In the darkness, he was able to see a steel hatch was connected to the floor. Hans stared at it in amazement.
“…Isn’t that an entrance to a bunker?”
In preparation for the Allied bombing, numerous shelters and bunkers were built in Berlin. Most of the bunkers were caught by the Allied Forces and were disarmed; however there were a considerable number of bunkers undiscovered.
Especially the bunkers that were built by the rich were continuously remained undiscovered.
Great dangers lurked in such bunkers. Toxic air, armed residents, danger of cave ins, and contagious viruses. If you carelessly entered the bunker, there was a great chance that you might not get out alive.
Nevertheless, unopened bunkers were known as gold mines for ‘the Hyenas.’ Besides the risks that lurk in them, there are expensive pieces of art, food, medicine and precious metal.
Hans Graham looked at Jackal with a stiff face.
“Want me to call for more guys?”
Hans knew that the choice would not be for the better. If the gang gets together, his shares would be reduced. That being said, the threats from the bunker exploration process will significantly reduce as well.
Because the more the people are gathered, the better they can strongly resist threats. Moreover, the one who leads the way is the one who calls the shots, not the one who found the place. That was the least they could do to receive their share. It was some sort of an unwritten law among them.
Jackal shook his head.
Before he even finished his sentence, Jackal began to open the hatch. The hatch was firmly closed that it wouldn’t budge.
“Are you gonna just watch or help?”
“I smell danger.”
Hans Graham reluctantly helped Jackal.
Hans, who once was a Greco-Roman wrestler, started to slowly open the hatch with his strong grip.
When the hatch finally opened, Hans and Jackal felt a strong smell rushing into their nose and quickly stepped back.
“That’s the smell from medicine. It doesn’t seem to be harmful.”
Jackal pulled his muffler up to his nose and looked into the hatch.
The hatch opened its mouth into darkness.
“I have an uneasy feeling.”
With uneasy eyes Hans looked inside.
“How about calling the other guys, huh?”
Instead of answering Han’s question, Jackal took out of a small flashlight. With a click, the flashlight with an U.S. mark shone and threw light inside a hatch. There was a ladder leading down below.
Jackal fixed the flashlight onto his hip and took out his pistol. It was a German pistol and the initial A.K. was carved onto its handle.
“I’ll go down first.”
Jackal lightly threw himself forward and climbed down the stairs in a couple of steps. Hans held a submachine gun and watched Jackal climb down with careful eyes.
His feet touched the ground.
Jackal held the flashlight with his left hand and observed the surroundings cautiously with his other.
The foggy flashlight shed light on a narrow hallway between the pale, grey walls.
“No problem here.”
Hans, murmuring, climbed down the ladder as well.
He was wearing a Soviet metal helmet.
“I hate doing this.”
Now two sources of light brightened the hallway.
Jackal and Hans cautiously walked down the hallway, one step at a time.
The hallway was deep in shadow and the air of silence filled inside.
The moment he thought, ‘Could anyone live like this?,’ Han’s eyes caught a trace of faint light.
It was not the light from the lantern, it was a light shining from somewhere else.
Jackal raised a hand to stop him, and then turned the flashlight off. When Hans turned off as well, they quietly walked towards the dim light.
As they got closer, a nasty odor permeated their nose. Jackal and Hans knew well that it was the smell of rotting corpses.
The firmly closed door that leaked lights was soon revealed in front of them. The door was made of rosewood, was stylishly engraved and had a quaint handle. Hans and Jackal stood alongside the door, kicked it open and entered.
What was in front of them was a guy in a military attire, who was sitting with his back turned.
The two guns pointed simultaneously at the guy.
But, the guy sitting on the chair did not budge an inch even though there were intruders. Instead, a nasty rotten smell only burned their nostrils.
“Is he dead?”
Hans’s guess turned out to be true.
The guy had a gun in his hand.
Walter 38K. It was the same model as the one in Jackal’s hand, but the gun was customized with ivory handles.
“He seemed to have commit suicide…shooting his temple.”
Perhaps, he killed himself at the time of the war.
The rotten flesh and the dried up maggots on the floor showed the passage of time.
Jackal seized the Walter 38k with the ivory handle from the dead body, roughly wiped the rotten discharges that was attached to the gun and then placed it in his chest.
Hans, watching, grinned.
“Hey. I had my eyes on that.”
“I was the lead.”
“Then, I’ll get the next thing. We good?”
The threats were gone. The two began to search inside the bunker in delight. The first luck was given to Jackal, but Lady Luck soon smiled on Hans.
“Wow. Look at this. It’s a fountain pen with a gold nib.”
Jackal, on the other hand, was able to retrieve a worthless stamp collection, faded phonograph and a few records.
“By the way, did you hear the rumor? Remnants of the royal body guards attacked the US Army base.”
Hans opened his mouth, tucking the loots in his chest.
“They said that gunshots rang all night. It was incredible. There was a rumor that all the tanks were prepared and a full-scale attack was done. Maybe the Beowulf, the one we heard in rumors, appeared?
Jackal replied half-heartedly without any interest. The important thing for him was to find things that were worth some money.
However, the room of the suicide was emptier than he thought. There was nothing to eat and the smell of medicine turned out to be the odor for synthetic petroleum.
“Should I sell oil?”
Hans and Jackal sighed after seeing a large lot of drums stacked in the corner of the room.
After a while, Hans, who collected more goods than Jackal, left the bunker earlier.
“I’m leaving first. Let’s sell the oil later. When the weather gets cold, we’ll manage to sell it for a reasonable price.”
Jackal left the bunker, feeling as if there was more.
He explored every corner of the bunker where the dead body laid.
The bunker was closer to residential rather than it having been built for times of war. It had a living room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a mechanical room.
The furniture were good quality items.
It suddenly occurred to Jackal that he could live here if the dead body was taken care of.
Generators was operational and this was a secret place that had not been discovered yet. If only the hatch was fastened, it would be a safe hiding place.
If only the rotting corpse was removed.
“How can I remove that?”
Jackal had a weak stomach.
Looking at the corpse didn’t bother him, but touching and smelling was a different story.
“How can I handle… the dead body?”
At that moment, a dull metal sound was heard over the corridor.
It was the sound of the hatch closing.
Jackal took out the gun, aimed it towards the entrance, and listened carefully.
it didn’t sound like footsteps but more like something heavy was being dragged. The sound was getting closer.
Jackal did take any chances.
He learned from the battlefield that if he acted irrationally then he would expose himself and reveal his location.
Whoever it was, once the figure was visible, he was going to shoot them. It was the simplest and safest solution.
Jackal’s eyes became ice-cold.
However, the dragging sound stopped right in front of the entrance as if it seemed to know that Jackal had a gun aimed at it.
Confrontation lasted for more than five minutes. It is true that there was something over the exit, but the sound had stopped right in front of Jackal, and he had heard nothing else.
Beads of sweat ran down his face. He seemed to be nervous, but it was real drag to aim a gun at the target for five minutes without moving.
‘What the hell is he thinking?’
Another five minutes passed. His arm hurt to the extent that he could no longer aim it.
Jackal put the gun down and released the tensions in his arms. The knotted muscles loosened and he felt refreshed.
Then, an unfamiliar voice from the other side reached his ears.
“Does your arm hurt?”
Jackal hurriedly aimed the gun toward the entrance again due to the sudden voice.
It was a woman’s voice. It was the voice of a young woman.
“Who are you?”
Since it has come to this, it wasn’t necessary to hide himself any longer.
“I had no idea there was a guest. I am the niece of the uncle over there.”
Was she talking about the dead man who killed himself?
“What are you doing here?”
Jackal raised his voice. A shadow of mistrust strongly seeped into his voice.
“I couldn’t endure severe violence of the Russian military, so I had to run for safety and I’ve gotten here. As you know, the Russian military attempts to rape German women whenever they see us. A German woman as beautiful as me easily gets into trouble.”
She was a strange person, considering that she could talk so confidently in a beautiful voice to a person who could shoot her at any time.
“Doesn’t your arm hurt? I am unarmed.”
“How do you know I am armed?”
“There, I can see your shadow.”
Only when she said that, Jackal was able to see his shadow being faintly reflected on the side of the open door. It was a very faint shadow that could have gone unnoticed in the darkness.
Jackal bit back a small laugh.
‘It hasn’t been long since the war ended and I am already losing my senses being idle in this neighborhood.’
Then he heard the voice again from the corner interrupting his thoughts.
“Anyway, I, a beautiful woman, am unarmed and I have no strength to resist. If you do not have any intentions to rape me, I will not do anything. Really.”
“Put your hands up and show yourself.”
“I am sorry but I cannot put my hands up as I have injured my leg. I have to crawl ungracefully at the moment.”
That must have been the strange sound.
If she crawled with such a wound, it would be a deep one. But he did not hear any groans or rough breathing.
He had no idea who she was, but the woman who introduced herself as beautiful must own an extremely strong mentality, or must have been born with a disability in her leg.
“Then come out slowly. Slowly.”
“Please don’t be surprised at my beautiful appearance. OK?”
“I got it!”
At Jackal’s loud voice, something appeared in front of the entrance.
It gradually peaked an identifiable form, and Jackal’s eyes widened in horror.
It was a monster covered in blood with only its two eyes shining eyes.
At the terrible appearance, Jackal, without meaning to, spat out his long forgotten native language and started to shoot at the creature.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!
In a blink of an eye, there more no more bullets. Jackal retreated hastily, reloaded quickly, and aimed towards the entrance.
Only darkness remained where the monster once was.
However, the bloodstain left by the monster remained far in the faint dark distance.
Is this a nightmare? Jackal looked at the other side with fearful eyes.
Soon, he heard her voice.
“Well, I told you not to be surprised!”
Even though the bullets aimed at the head were fired brilliantly, like a lightning, the monster seemed to have simply avoided the bullets.
“I was just involved in something shameful and was injured a little bit.”
“That’s a little bit?”
“Oh, you mean this blood? This is not my blood. It doesn’t make sense that my beautiful body would contain any of this bad-smelling blood.”
“Anyway, can I show myself to you? This time, please do not be surprised.”
She spoke politely as ghost. Her voice was calm. Jackal, who recovered his peace of mind, allowed the monster to show itself.
“Less talk and come on out!”
She is not a ghost. She is not a ghost.
Chanting the Lord’s Prayer in his mind, Jackal watched the strange woman reveal herself again.
Soon, a woman covered in blood came forward. At a closer view, she was not a monster, but human.
Her body was just covered in blood.
It seemed to be true that she injured her leg.
Messy, bloody hair, face and clothes and her crawling appearance with her four legs was scary enough to those who looked at her.
“Why did you come here?”
Jackal aimed his gun at her, and questioned her as though she was being interrogated.
“I already told you. Wait, I just need a place to shelter myself. By the way, my uncle seemed to be dead. May I look at him closely for a while?
Jackal stepped back, aiming a gun at her.
The woman covered with blood crawled towards the dead man sitting on the chair and then looked up.
Amidst the messy, bloody hair, the face of a young girl faintly appeared.
She crossed herself, bowing her head down and paid a silent tribute for a while. Meanwhile, Jackal saw her ankle. Seeing her black and blue swollen ankle, it seemed to be broken or have gotten injured.
Jackal’s eyes gleamed in amazement.
‘She did not moan even though she got such a wound.’
As far as he knew, it was impossible unless she got morphine.
Nevertheless, despite her young age, the woman’s breath did not waver.
Suddenly, her eyes were focused on Jackal’s face.
Now that he looked at her under the light, her eyes were vivid green, like emeralds. It contained a bright light, like the stars.
“I think it was broken. I’m glad that it’s only broken.”
“How could you be so calm with such a wound?
At Jackal’s close questioning, the girl covered in blood replied with a bittersweet smile.
“Before speaking, I would like to take a shower. Frankly speaking, this doesn’t look beautiful.”
“If you’ll let me to do it.”
A disgusting odor flowed from the girl. It was the smell made when the blood started to clot, and along with the smell of the dead corpse, Jackal felt like vomiting.
‘It’d be better to see her after being cleaned. I can’t stand looking at her now.’
Jackal has a weak stomach even though he has seen a number of corpses in battlefields. He took out of a pocket watch from his chest, showed it to her and said,
“I’ll give you 10 minutes.”
“That’s too short for a girl. I need at least thirty minutes.”
Under Jackal’s eyes, the girl crawled towards the shower room, dragging her feet.
After she entered the shower, the sound of water reached his ears.
While Jackal sat on the side of the exit, he waited for the girl to end.
Once again, an air of silence filled the room where he was left alone.
All of sudden, a question rose.
“What am I doing here?”
Unlike his usual self, he could hardly keep his countenance.
If he was his usual self, he would throw her out or kill her, but this time, he was strangely swayed by the situation.
Come to think of it, he had no choice.
The sudden appearance, a figure that reminds him of a ghost, a stray bullet, and patience strong enough to be admired.
Maybe, Jackal might have lost his equilibrium from the first moment he met her.
After a while.
“Well, may I come in?”
The existence that exposed again with crutches was a very beautiful girl with a bright blonde hair and a gloomy look.
“Let me introduce myself. My name is Marie-Louise Lane. As you can see, I’m a patient.”
Marie-Louise Lane wore a French maid dressed instead of the clothes covered in blood. Her bare foot, exposed under the long skirt, was heavily bruised.
“This clothes? A maid who came from Poland for my uncle used to wear it. Her name was Katejina or something.”
The girl with green eyes seemed to see right through Jackal’s heart and kept talking parenthetically wherever his gaze stayed.
Amazing thing was the sociability of her voice that made the other person feel good while she was talking.
Jackal stared at Marie-Louise’s left leg with crutches.
Without fail, Marie’s explanation followed.
“I took off my splint. I didn’t have any bandages, so I tore off my clothes that I used to wear, cleaned them with soap, squeezed them out and then wrapped it. I learned how to do it when I went to school.”
The next place Jackal gazed at was the face of the girl who was staring back at him.
“You….who are you?”
“I think I already told you my name and my family relationship as well. Anyway, why don’t you stop aiming a gun at me? Think about it. I am a beautiful woman. I am injured. How can I harm you? I don’t even want to. “
Jackal put the gun back into the waistband of his trousers. Marie’s eyes shined at the gun.
“The gun….my uncle’s. It was his most cherished one. If I touched it, he freaked out.”
“Your uncle killed himself with this gun.”
“Yeah. Not surprising, considering that he always wanted to meet his fate with a gun.”
“By the way… Stop chattering and let’s go back to the main business. Why did a woman like you come here, covered in blood and your legs broken?
At Jackal’s question, Marie lowered her head and sighed.
“In fact, I’m being chased by someone.”
“Who? The U.S Army? The British Army? The German Army? Or the French guys?
“So many choices. As a matter of fact, neither one of them. However, the opponent was wearing US military uniform, so let’s call them the U.S Army.”
Jackal sneered at her words.
“A girl being chased by the U.S Army. That’s a new one. Did you commit so called war crimes?”
“No, I didn’t. For the duration of the war, there wasn’t a single American soldier that I killed.”
“But, why are you being chased?”
“That was my question. I knew it only yesterday…One of them told me that I should not have been born into the world.”
The girl looked at the ceiling, with a solitary smile.
On the ceiling, incandescent bulbs blazing in white shed light.
‘A girl who has been chased by American soldiers…’
There’s no knowing whether it is true or not. But if it was true?
Suddenly a thought came into Jackal’s mind.
“Well, what do you want me to do?”
Jackal said with a cold voice, staring at her.
The girl was staring at the incandescent lamp with blank eyes.
“Did you want to ask permission to live here for a while?”
At Jackal’s question, the girl’s eyes turned towards Jackal. When their eyes met, she bowed her head narrowly on her crutches.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
“There’s no medicine or food here.”
“I just need water. And at your earliest convenience, I will be very thankful if you could share little bits of biscuits with me.”
“I think I can manage that. By the way, how will you handle that?”
Jackal pointed to the dead man on a chair.
“You are not going to live with your uncle?”
“My uncle….Let me bury him.”
“At such a state?”
“After recovering a little.”
That’s not a bad condition.
Before Marie appeared, Jackal had worried about the disposal of the dead man. However, it is the best to remove it through someone else’s hands.
Anyway, the guy was rotten from a few months now, so leaving the dead body for a few days will not remove the bad smell from the room.
Jackal readily accepted and put the gun inside and stood back.
“I’ll visit next time.”
“When are you going to visit me?”
Jackal closed the door, ignoring the words of the girl.
The ladder that received faint light in the distance caught his eyes.
“A girl being chased by American soldiers. Perhaps, she could take me out of this collapsed empire.”
Closing the hatch, Jackal muttered in a low voice.
He recalled the U.S military officers who he knew by sight and left the ruins of the building, thinking how he could meet them.
While Jackal dreamed of making a fortune in one stroke, the girl left in the bunker was staring at the dead man sitting in front of her.
“A wanted criminal?”
Donald McGally was one of the few American military officers. This infamous office who once received an official reprimand for escaping the enemy front, could only think of returning to his hometown, Seattle.
“Yes. I want to earn a lot of money by catching them.”
“Now you’re gonna change your job from ‘Hyena’ to bounty hunter?”
“There’s nothing worth much on the streets anymore.”
Speaking so, Jackal secretly took out a glass bottle with brown liquid from his chest.
It was the French Cognac made in 1923. Donald, who saw the rare alcohol, said in a low voice after he looked around.
“Put that inside the guard post. And take a pass and find Lieutenant Grace in the military police. He looks young, but you can find him easily because he is bald.”
Entering into the guard post, the guards inside stared at Jackal with a frown.
“What’s that? He’s Jap.. Why you here again?”
Jackal put the Cognac down, and they gave Jackal a pass, and patted his shoulder.
“Stop by often.”
Even though he had a pass, he still had a long way to go. Jackal’s shabby looks and Asian face stopped many of the U.S soldiers passing by.
“What? Who are you? Where you from?”
“With the reference of Lieutenant Donald, I am on the way to see Lieutenant Grace.”
Jackal had no choice but to bow and smile. Even though he didn’t want to.
Unpleasant looks continued throughout the military police troops.
“Stop there. Asian.”
Two military police officers who were watching the military building stopped Jackal.
Both of them were bigger than him.
Even though he showed his pass, it didn’t work.
“What? An Asian in Berlin.. you are Jap?”
Outright hostility was shown in their eyes.
It was only natural for them. Germany surrendered, but the war with Japan still continued.
Especially, in the battle that recently took place in Iwo Island, a number of American soldiers died, so the U.S. antipathy towards the Japanese reached its climax. It was time to speak out about them calling everyone that looks Asian a ‘Jap,’
“I’m not a Jap.”
“Really? So, you’re Chinese?”
“Where the hell do you come from?”
The American soldier said in an angry tone.
“You will never know even though I tell you. Because the country that I call ‘my country’ was already destroyed in the distant past and does not exist anymore in this world.”
Jackal spoke in a neutral voice and had a forlorn look on his face.
Just in time, one noncommissioned officer called the military police officers.
He might have something to tell.
“Really? That’s too bad.”
There is no apparent reason to stop him, since he had a pass. Military police ofiicers who had unexpected business did not question him closely and just let him go inside.
After extending courtesy, he went into the office.
It was hot, damp and bustling in the office. Phones rang here and there and the office was thick with cigarette smoke.
Jackal found a man that Donald described. It didn’t take long to find him.
“Hello? You must be Lieutenant Grace?”
There was no need to refer to the description that Donald answered, because the name plate with ‘Cpt. Grace’ was written on it was placed on his desk.
“Yes, I am.”
Lieutenant Grace turned his head and looked blankly at Jackal’s face. He made incredulous looks on his face with his pouting lips.
“I came here with Lieutenant Donald’s referral.”
“With a referral from Lieutenant Donald?”
Hearing the name of Donald, Grace checked out Jackal’s look. After a while, he picked up the phone and said something.
What he said on the phone did not reach Jackal’s ears.
After he hung up, Grace stood from his seat.
“Perfect timing! I was about to get some air.”
He walked to a secluded place behind the building and asked him what happened, with a cigarette in his mouth.
“So, why did you come to me?”
“I’m looking for the wanted with prices on their heads.”
“You mean you’re a bounty hunter?”
“I can travel in and out of the U.S and the Soviet territory freely, and I am very familiar with the geography of Berlin. I also know a few Soviet military officers and can get much information in my hands.”
At Jackal’s words, Grace looked at him with dubious eyes and nodded his head and lit the cigarette.
After taking a puff, Grace opened his mouth again.
“By the way, you’re Asian. Are you Japanese?”
“No. I’m from Joseon.”
There was no need to tell a lie to the military police officer like Grace. It is natural for him to crack down and investigate someone. There was no use telling a lie, because it’ll be revealed soon and I could be suspected.
“Joseon? Is there such a country?
“It was forcibly merged with Japan.”
“If so, you are Japanese.”
Grace told him flat and pulled out a pistol from his chest.
It was a totally unexpected situation.
There was a subtle movement in the face of Jackal. His body was instantly startled and soon became immobilized.
The low voice of Grace reached his ears.
“The people of a hostile country are considered as a spy, so we can arrest them at any time. Japan is a hostile country and you are the people of a hostile country.”
“The people of a hostile country. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
As the muzzle reached his eyes, Jackal raised his hands in fear.
Grace seemed to enjoy the reactions from Jackal and told him coldly, pushing the gun on Jackal’s face.
“In the battlefield, things that you don’t understand often happen.”
“May I ask you one question?”
Jackal said hastily.
“I heard that the United States was once a British colony. What were those who lived in colonial America called?”
His voice was shaking, but it came out as easy like flowing water.
Grace who listened, stared at Jackal and busted out laughing.
“Huh! You’re funny.”
Maybe he couldn’t find the words to refute Jackal. He lowered his gun.
“Actually, I didn’t even unlock the safety. I was just testing you.”
“Have you ever heard of the Devil of Cherbourg?”
“The Devil of Cherbourg?”
“He is a damn bastard. If you were the Devil of Cherbourg, when I laid that gun on you, I might’ve been a dead man. Well, of course, that guy wouldn’t be able to get away, either.”
The eyes of Grace headed toward the opposite building. The eyes of Jackal quickly followed the thing that Grace was looking at.
Instantly, Jackal found a gleam from a window on the fourth floor.
‘Is it a sniper?’
50 meter in the distance.
It is just a good place to shoot someone because it is not close nor too far and controls surroundings.
If Jackal did any strange behavior, it will be difficult for him to leave this place alive.
“According to recently obtained information, there are rumors that the guy called the Devil of Cherbourg was a military officer from Japan. In other words, the guy is Asian. So, when I saw you, I thought that you might be the Devil of Cherbourg and so I tested you.”
Grace inhaled the cigarette smoke and puffed it into the sky.
Jackal looked at the smoke scatter and spoke with caution.
“I’ve heard about the guy. If the rumor is real and I am the Devil of Cherbourg, wouldn’t your life be in danger?”
“It can’t be helped.”
Watching the smoke being scatter, Jackal thought.
‘It’s ridiculous. At this moment, the sniper is aiming at my head. And even if there is a sniper, I could kill you any time.”
When Grace leveled a gun at him, Jackal had already held a knife, that was hidden in his chest with, his hand.
If he put his mind to it, he could plunge the knife into Grace’s neck at any time. However, at the moment when Grace took out of the gun, Jackal noticed that the safety catch of the gun was locked.
So, Jackal didn’t do anything.
“Anyway, if you need anything, I’ll tell Donald. Accept works through him.”
Some time had passed. Grace kicked away the cigarette on the floor and said goodbye, whoel putting it out.
“Well, I’d better get going.”
“Well, Captain. I have something to ask you once more.”
“This might be a little silly question. Is there a woman that the American soldiers are looking for?
“Well, I mean a pretty girl with blond hair and green eyes.”
“There is no pretty woman among German women. The thing we are looking for is not a woman, but a war criminal. When it comes to woman arrangement, you’d better meet the Bolshevik guys from the east.”
The conversation ended.
Grace stalked off and left the place.
“Hmm, was the woman telling a lie? No wonder that there was no woman being chased by the U.S Army.”
Licking his lips, Jackal pulled a hat over his face and left the station.
“Ah, well, I’d better find extra work.”
The sky was reddening and fragrant smell of food from the U.S. restaurant spread out.
American soldiers who finished the day walked into the dining room in twos and threes. Perhaps, one of them might recognize him.
It seemed that American soldiers found out that he was Asian. Not just in Berlin, but there aren’t a lot of Asians in Germany.
He was filled with a sense of foreboding, but there is nothing to be changed if he hesitated or was scared.
‘If I am condemned to be killed, I should die. However, I will not die easily.’
With clenched teeth, Jackal walked among American soldiers in silence.
At the same time.
Marie-Louise Lane was sitting, stretching her two legs and was staring at her legs with blue and black bruises through her transparent emerald eyes.
After looking at her legs for a while, she soon began to press her two legs with her fingers. If those who did not know what her situation looked like, they might have thought it was a useless behavior. However, this was quite a desperate and needed action for her.
After doing that with her fingers, she took a deep breath and then began to fix the dislocated bones with her two hands.
In the room that filled the air of silence, a screech that makes one’s hair stand on end, echoed. Nobody in their right mind would have been able to hear that sound. If there was a Demon’s Symphony, the sound made would’ve been perfect as the introduction.
The whole thing was a bit scary but Marie-Louise Lane continued what she was doing without batting an eye.
The work ended after a long time. After the sound stopped, Marie-Louise Lane finally sighed and said,
“Seeing my body shaking like the way it is, no matter how much the pain is stopped by acupuncture techniques, the absolute degree of the pain that whole body feels never changes.”
Her forehead was soaked with cold sweat. Wiping the sweat off with the sleeve of the maid’s clothes, Marie-Louise started to wrap her broken legs with a bandage and splint that were placed next to the bed.
After she did it meticulously, Marie-Louise Lane sighed again and spoke out,
“It might take three months to be fully be recovered at the earliest unless I could get miracle cure.”
Three months. It might be a short time for someone, but it can be eternity for those living in crisis and border.
“If they find me within 3 months, it might be hard to avoid death.”
Marie-Louise Lane recalled the reflections of the countless swords that attacked her. Now, if those attacks might be applied to her, she will never be able to stop them.
“I can’t die in a place like this.”
Another face came across Marie-Louise’s mind.
It was the face of the Asian, far different from the swords of Wutang.
“He said his name is Jackal?”
The man who entered into the bunker was capable of shooting.
He was a serious rival. Keen sense and skills of shooting sharp enough to kill a life. The guy was a strong man who was more than just a lowly hyena.
“If that guy has an ulterior motive, my life would be in danger.”
A dark look clouded her eyes.
“I will attack him first.”
On the streets surrounded by darkness, two vague, shining shadows were lingering.
Jackal caught them from afar and softly beeped his bicycle horns twice. And then, he lightly stepped on the pedals, towards them.
The appearance of the two men began to emerge. Although there was a difference in degree, both of them had watchful eyes.
At the moment Jackal’s bike passed by them, one man started to whisper.
“Hatred is our prayer…”
As soon as Jackal heard the words, he stopped and held onto the brakes.
Their eyes met and they observed each other.
After a brief scan was done, Jackal opened his mouth with a smile.
“…and revenge is our cry.”
Once the men heard his reply, they let down there guards and started towards the guy riding the bike.
“You’re the Devil of Cherbourg? Heard a lot about you, but didn’t know you were Asian.”
“I hear that all the time. I’m not Japanese, so please don’t ask me where I am from. And….”
Jackal unpacked the parcel from his bike and held it out to the two men.
“Since someone might be watching, please check this now.”
Jackal looked around the surroundings with his keen eyes. The men slowly received the parcel. It was a small sealed box with a paper attached.
When the seal was torn, the contents inside the box came visible under the moonlight.
It was stacks of file folders.
One man pulled out a folder and shone the contents with his lantern. It contained photos, appearance, race, address, career and embarrassing facts with the seal of Gestapo at the end of it.
After that guy closely looked at the seal, he nodded his head toward the other man.
“This is the original.”
Then the other opened his mouth while looking at Jackal.
“I’ve checked the items.”
And he took out of something in his chest and held it out to Jackal.
It was U.S dollars.
“I hope you have a good trip.”
Jackal received money and left the place, while leisurely riding his bike, as though nothing had happened.
After he was gone, the two guys chattered in a low voice, repacking the parcel.
“Can’t believe that was the Devil of Cherbourg. He looks younger than I imagined.”
“Right. That’s the guy. I have seen him in Aachen. I didn’t see him actually fight, but I remember that the U.S Army gnashed their teeth in anger and offered a price on his head.”
“But, I don’t understand why that guy is helping so-called criminals like us. He could die.”
“He just wants to come aboard. There are a quite a lot Allied Forces who died in his hands. A rumor is going around that Patton directly issued orders that those who capture Jackal would receive a promotion of two ranks.”
“That’s funny. By the way, who will take a smelly Asian on their boat?”
The men disappeared into the darkness with a laugh.
Soon after they were gone, Jackal re-exposed himself from the dark.
“I understand what you’re thinking.”
With a forlorn smile, he flattened the crumpled scrap of money in his hands and then put them in his wallet.
Quite a lot of bills filled his wallet.
Jackal looked down at his money and started to talk in a low tone.
“Your nation was defeated just like my ancestors. The only thing that citizens of a defeated nation can do is to believe in themselves.”
The bicycle pedal began to spin.
Cutting through the night’s cool air, the bicycle raced towards the city in ruins.
Soon, dawn started from the East. The pale sun soared above the city in ruins.
Prussia archipelago- Berlin.
The city of Brandenburg triumphal arch.
The city that was occupied by Russia, 400 years ago.
The city that was currently divided into four victorious countries.
And the city of war criminals.
Jackal flew into Berlin about three months ago when the war had just ended.
He was staying at a shabby mansion built in a district occupied by the Soviet army. Even though the place was not very wide, had a busted pipe and stank, it was the only refuge that was allowed Jackal in the city of a pandemonium.
His neighbors said that the person who originally lived there was a crippled man in his mid-40s. He was dragged off as a grenadier at the end of war and put in the offensive and defensive battles, and did not return.
“Let’s take a look at my goods!”
After returning to his dwellings, the first thing that Jackal usually did was to check the safe hided in the room. A ridiculously heavy iron safe, picked up from a shattered bank by shelling, was cleverly disguised.
He put the safe in the corner, stacked bricks on it and then painted plaster over it to disguise it into a pillar. So the door of the safe was completely hidden with the shelves and bookcases.
After pushing the heavy bookcase away, Jackal opened the safe sealed with a triple lock and then checked his goods.
Inside the vault, large amounts of dollars, alcohol, medicine, canned food, and various weapons etc. were mixed in a big mess. Jackal put the wad of money that he received in the vault and then took out of a handbook and entered it in the ledger.
“Still have a long way to go.”
He had collected about 5,000 dollars. With this money, Jackal could live well, but the desired amount was $10,000.
“Phew…When am I gonna be able to save up the rest. Really.”
At that moment, Jackal recalled a man who stood with his hands behind his back, on a blackened submarine that surfaced over the dark sea.
The man wore a German Navy waterproof tar bucket coat, had a pipe in his mouth and was blowing hazy cigarette smoke on the rocking sea at night. He mockingly said,
“Keep in mind. Japanese! 10,000 dollars. 10,000 dollars! If you bring that money to me, I’ll help you start a new life in Argentina. So, then the Devil of Cherbourg will die, and an honest and hardworking Japanese-Argentine will be born!”
Jackal felt pressure on his chest after his short flashback. But merely thinking about it wouldn’t earn him that amount.
Jackal took out a bottle of alcohol from the safe and popped it into his mouth. The burn from the strong cognac stung his stomach.
Jackal just stood there silently, allowing the silence embrace him.
How much time has passed by? From the next house over the wall, the sound of something breaking and a loud voice from a man reached his ears.
“Is he drunk again? That man…. He isn’t even well enough.” “
Jackal started recalling a face that he had forgotten while he was mumbling about the old fool. The face of the girl with the blonde hair that he encountered at the bunker.
“Her bluff was absolutely ridiculous!”
He thought that it’d be a great opportunity to earn a lot of money if she was, indeed, a figure sought out by the American soldiers. American soldiers are generous, have lots of money and are not fastidious like Englishmen. They are the best trading partners.
However, as the bald U.S captain checked, such opportunities weren’t present.
“Well, to be honest, it’s me who they really want. Not the girl.”
If they knew his identity,
Death would soon follow
Jackal sipped his glass of again and closed the door of the vault.
For some reason, Jackal reopened the safe and took out some medication, such as analgesics, antipyretics, and penicillin.
“Let’s go get the whole story, eh?”
It was very dangerous during the nights in Berlin.
Before going out, Jackal checked his weapons.
Ppsh-41 submachine gun, whose butt plate was cut off, not to be seen.
The pistol with an ivory handle that he got at the bunker.
Four bat hand grenades.
A knife, a lantern.
He was like a soldier prepping for war.
Standing in front of the mirror, Jackal checked out his arms and disguise.
“Hope for safe today.”
When he stepped out of the mansion, a man revealed himself in the shades. He was tall and broad shouldered, had a short haircut and his features resembled a German’s face.
It was Hans Graham. He was the fellow soldier who fought with Jackal in the offensive and defensive battle of Berlin, and one of the few that Jackal talks to.
A little girl behind the thick legs, which were like Greek pillars, carefully looked at Jackal’s face and retrieving behind the legs as if she was playing ‘hide-and-seek.’
As Jackal called her name, the girl with the brown pig tails stared blankly at him and slowly waved her hands.
Unlike her cute looks, she had a brusque way of speaking. Erika Graham was Hans’s younger sister, even though they did not look anything alike.
After the short greeting, Hans came over and spoke with his unique and cheerful voice.
“Where you going at this time of the night? Are you going on a ‘Hyena’ again?”
“Nope. I just want to take a walk.”
“It’s a dangerous time. Want me to come with you?”
While he was speaking, Hans took out his glittering fountain pen that was pinned to his top pocket.
Looking at it, Jackal’s face turned stiff.
“I just want to walk alone today. Next time, when I go on a ‘Hyena’, I’ll contact you first.”
“All right then,.. next time. I’ll be waiting. Let’s go, Erika.”
Hans disappeared into the darkness with a smile. Erika followed her brother, suddenly stopped and looked at Jackal and muttered,
“OK. Erika, good-bye.”
Jackal stared into the darkness where the Graham siblings disappeared into and stepped forward.
The full moon was rising, but due to the densely hung clouds, the night streets were filled with darkness. Judging from the disgusting smell that filled the air, it was likely that it was going to rain soon.
As he walked down the streets for about 10 minutes, he saw people light up drum cans and warming themselves.
Exhausted and hopeless faces. Occasionally gleaming hostile eyes. They were a group of demimonde.
Jack quickened his pace and passed them. Fortunately, no one picked a fight with him. It was not clear whether the US military coat that Jackal wore alerted them or they just weren’t interested.
Jackal could safely reach the bunker.
“Phew. It was a thrilling night walk.”
Jackal opened the hatch and entered into the bunker. The hallway was still immersed in silence and darkness. Jackal quietly walked down the hallway, carrying a lantern and his pistol.
Soon, the door revealed itself in the darkness. Behind the closed wooden door, there was a dead boy and a girl. And through the doors, rays of bright light were creeping out into the darkness.
Before opening, Jackal knocked a couple of times.
“Hey. You still alive?”
There wasn’t any answers coming from inside.
When his questions echoed and faintly disappeared, the deathly silence quickly filled the empty gap, enough to be scared.
Jackal took a step back and shone the lantern down the hallway and touched the dirt with his index finger and thumb.
“It doesn’t seem like there were any unwelcomed guests. Why isn’t she answering?’
Suddenly, the image of the dead man popped up in his mind, along with an ominous imagination.
Did the blonde girl kill herself?
It was possible.
From the first sight, the girl was far from human. Although he did not ask what had happened to her, something evil seemed to have bestowed upon her.
In Berlin, unexpected things happen.
His was feeling uneasy.
During the war, opening doors were a very dangerous act.
The soldier who opens the door was also a good prey for the enemy who was waiting for an ambush.
Jackal had a keen sense.
Otherwise, he would’ve never survived in the hellish battlefield.
He wrapped a piece of cloth around the end of the pistol’s butt plate that’d been cut off, held it at gunpoint, and then turned the handle of the door.
It wasn’t opening slowly, but the handle of the door began to turn.
It was time to open the door.
Jackal witnessed an incredible sight.
Something just went through the gap opened by the butt head.
An unidentified object passed through the door and was lodged in the wall somewhere.
Jackal, unconsciously, took cover behind the wall.
Jackal’s eyes were gleaming sharply.
It if was a shooting, there should’ve been a sound of a gunshot.
Even if a silencer was equipped, the sound of the silencer can still be fully heard from a short distance.
Jackal shouted sharply.
There wasn’t an answer.
An uneasy feeling never was wrong.
He was able to feel the presence of enemies inside.
Enemies who were skilled enough not to leave any traces after them.
‘Should I give up here?’
This bunker was too attractive of a place to give up, and besides, there was a girl who led him here.
Sinister imaginations flashed across Jackal’s head.
‘Perhaps other groups of Hyena found the place and captured the girl.’
The girl was beautiful. She would have been raped, and if unfortunate, she could’ve been killed as well.
Jackal’s eyes went cold.
Eyes that were emotionless.
The Devil of Cherbourg who drove the U.S and British Army into fear in the war awakened in his eyes once again in a dismal basement in Berlin.
Jackal took out of the bat-type grenade from his jacket. The manufactured date was peeled off from the handle.
The date was erased, so it was difficult to read, but it was made in 1945.
Jackal placed the grenade to his ear and listened, shaking it.
Before the defeat, war materials that were manufactured at German factories were notorious for their bad quality.
It was common for lack of charges or poor detonators. So, he shook it to check for the sound of explosives and the detonator.
Determined by his ear, the quality of the grenade was normal.
There weren’t to be any risks with the bombing.
Jackal pulled the safety pin and counted numbers in his mind.
Just before the detonator ignited the charges, Jackal threw his arms wide and tossed the grenade into the room.
The moment the grenade entered into the room, something hit it and it exploded at the same time.
As the door flew away in pieces, a huge blow attacked Jackal.
A pile of debris struck the side of his face.
A drop of blood ran along his cheek towards his chin.
Fortunately, the explosion seemed to have occurred inside the room.
Jackal touched his body and checked his wounds.
‘Just a scratch. I’m sure that the explosion occurred inside the room.’
Due to the explosion at close proximity, he was not able to hear well. Jackal quickly figured out the state of his ears by picking it with his fingers.
No sound reached his ears, but there was no blood coming out of it either.
‘Temporary hearing loss. Eardrums not ruptured.’
A huge amount of dust caused by the explosion hid the scene.
Jackal covered his mouth with a piece of cloth that was used for wrapping the buff plate of the pistol and placed the lantern on the ground and stepped back.
With his submachine gun at hand, he found an appropriate place to stay until his hearing returned.
‘What the hell was that?’
While Jackal’s hearing was recovering, he thought about what happened just a few minutes ago. It seemed that firearms were certainly fired.
Because of its speed and penetration force it wasn’t able to be seen by the naked eye.
However, the two gunshots were drowned out.
If Jackal opened the door without thinking, the first attack would’ve taken his body in one blow.
‘Should I test it?’
Jackal picked an appropriate grenade-sized rock and threw it towards the room.
As soon as the stone entered the room, something inside the room hit it.
Jackal threw another rock.
Something was hitting the rock.
‘What the hell is it shooting?’
The speed and power were certainly comparable as to bullets, but it was totally different from guns. It was difficult to clearly explain how different it was, but Jackal felt the difference.
He threw the stone again.
The stone helplessly fell to the ground.
This time, there was no response.
Whatever was inside seemed to have a level of intelligence, like a human being.
‘Been waiting for this. Buddy.’
Jackal took out two grenades from his chest and checked the sounds, shaking them.
‘Both are good.’
Creeping into the doorway, he bit the safety pin with his teeth.
‘Eins.. Zwei.. Drei!”
Just before the explosion, Jackal threw the two grenades inside the door and covered his ears, throwing himself on the other side at the same time.
Someone’s voice from inside reached his ears.
There was no doubt that the voice was similar to Marie-Louise Lane’s, who he met in the morning.
With 0.5 seconds of a time difference, two different explosions were heard.
One explosion was towards the exit, and the other was inside the room.
He was deafened by the explosion, but his hearing still worked.
“Are you in there? You, the woman with the broken legs.”
There wasn’t a reply from the room.
A dust cloud, caused by the rear blast of the explosion, was silently wandering around the dark hallways.
‘If this is how you are going to play, I’ll bring sulfuric acid. Let’s see if you can stay quiet even after the fumes of the sulfuric acid fills up the room.”
“That’s no ordinary play.”
The voice of the girl finally replied from inside.
As he expected, it was the girl with broken legs. It was the voice of Marie-Louise.
“Put your weapons down and come out, holding up your hands.
“I have no weapons and only broken legs. If I lift my hands up, I cannot move.”
“Use the crutches. I’ll give you 3 seconds.”
Jackal stepped back with his pistol in one hand and a knife in the other.
“3 seconds is too short. I’m a patient.”
“Stop speaking and come out.”
The sound of her getting on her crutches was heard.
The irregular sound of crutches came near.
Soon the wavering blond hair entered Jackal’s sight.
She smiled and her beauty was dazzling enough to sink hearts. However, her tangled hair and frayed skirt hem clearly showed her distress.
Her green eyes spoke of nothing.
Even though Jackal saw that the girl had nothing but her crutches, he kept his eyes on her body.
“Gosh, please don’t look at me like that. I’m very embarrassed. You’re even creepier than I thought.”
“….Why did you attack me?”
“I won’t lie that I did not know who you were. Isn’t Berlin in an apocalypse now? It’s a difficult period to defend ourselves, especially for a beautiful woman like me.”
Jackal asked sharply, his pistol ready. It oppressed her to give short, concise answers.
“Thought you came to rape me.”
Jackal burst out laughing.
“Did I look like that type of guy?”
“You can’t judge a book by its cover.”
“Even though I am a human butcher now, when I was young, my strict father taught me about humanity through the book of Confucius law. Of course, Germans like you don’t even know who wrote the book.”
But Marie rolled her eyes as she was remembering something and nodded her head.
“The Confucian texts. That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. Aren’t the authors Confucius, Mencius, and another anonymous Chinese writer?”
Jackal and Marie’s eyes gleamed simultaneously.
‘How does a German know that?
There were only a few who knew about Eastern philosophy among the westerners that he had met so far. There were some who knew about the story of Buddhism and Hinduism at the most, but no one talked about Confucianism.
It was the fate of a defeated country.
It was considered worthless to learn or know.
The teaching that was the root of everything in which Jackal used to live by was being treated contemptuously in foreign lands.
But a westerner who acknowledged a part of his memory had appeared.
…Although, it was suspicious.
Jackal’s cold eyes softened.
With his pistol ready, he put his knife down at his feet and took off his backpack with his other hand and started to pull out the contents inside.
Bandages, penicillin, and painkillers.
Medicine that weren’t easily obtained in Berlin.
“This is why I’m here.”
“Oh, this is… For me?”
“You’re the person who has to remove the dead man in the bunker, so I hope you get better soon.”
Hearing that, she smiled mysteriously and opened her right hand that held onto the crutches.
A small marble fell to the floor.
Jackal’s eyes didn’t miss this.
“It was my last weapon. I don’t need it anymore because I know your true intentions.”
“That’s a weapon?”
At Jackal’s question, the girl used his crutches to come forward.
The light of the lantern shone her face more brightly.
In the light, Marie-Louise nodded her head with a smile.
“My weapon. Honestly, I am my own weapon.”
The girl picked up a stone that fell apart from the explosion.
Feeling Jackal’s uncertain gaze, the girl showed him the stone that was in her hand.
It was chunky, but it seemed like a hard cement rock.
With a single grip, the stone that seemed indestructible was easily turned into powder.
Pffh… the powdered stone flew away.
“What…What the hell was that? What strength?!”
The girl leaned closer to Jackal, who was shaken.
“I have no idea why I have the knowledge of it. Nobody taught it to me, but it is always in my head, saying to inform myself of it. And that’s how I obtained… the power of Wugong.”
It was a concept that he had never seen or heard before.
But how is it possible to obtain such superhuman strength, by just informing oneself about it?
It’s impossible. To the eyes of Jackal, who have been trained and adapted in war, human beings were just worthless.
However, the things that the girl had shown to him so far went throw his mind like a flash, and the scenes that he couldn’t easily comprehend with his common senses were soon becoming plausible.
“I think you’re a great warrior of this era. First class among the warriors. Anyway, you’re not a normal person, seeing as how you attempted to kill me twice.”
“What do you want to say?”
“You must be a Hyena. I heard that they’ll do anything for money.”
“Are you requesting something?”
The corner of Jackal’s lips slightly lifted.
“Protect me until I am recovered. It’ll take about three months.”
“I’ll teach you Wugong in exchange for your protection.”
The crutches moved.
The girl stepped back and walked into the darkness.
Confused, Jackal threw a question at her.
“The power that makes anything possible.”
The eyes of the Blood Demon gleamed in the darkness.
The morning of Berlin wasn’t different from any other.
Jackal was awakened by the sound of sirens.
Opening the window and looking down, he saw a loudspeaker on an armored car passing by making loud sounds.
“Soviet Union bastards…”
They’re no good.
Always drunk on vodka and bothering people while muttering inaudible words.
They were notorious for raping women and rumor was that almost all women in the Soviet territory had been raped..
This was the price the Germans were getting in return for the sins that they have committed to Russia.
“Hey. Jackal. Let’s get some breakfast together.”
Hans Graham knocked on the door.
Roughly adjusting his clothes and coming out into the hallway, a nasty smell welcomed him.
“That drunkard bastard threw up again!’
There was a drunkard who lived next door.
He constantly drank and used violence on his family.
He also had a story.. He used to be a sincere hard-working Calvinist, but he turned into a drunkard after witnessing his daughter and wife being raped by Russian soldiers in front of him.
“That’s that and this is this. He shouldn’t be a nuisance to others.”
Grunting, Jackal went to Han’s house which was above his.
When he entered the house, Erika welcomed him.
“Good morning, Jackal.”
“Good morning, Erika. Where’s your big brother?”
“In the kitchen.
From the kitchen, there was an aroma of fine cooking flowing out.
“This is chicken stock that I was able to get my hands on. It’ll add flavor to the dish.”
Han’s was the army chef during his army years.
Maybe that was why his porridge tasted better than what they looked.
“Brother, its delicious!”
“Of course. I made it!”
Hans, who’s head was in the clouds after hearing Erika’s compliment, looked at Jackal with his eyes half-opened and asked.
“Hey Mr. Jackal, what you think?”
“Edible…huh? That’s Mr. Jackal’s best compliment!.”
Hans was grinning from ear to ear while he was eating and soon his share of the porridge was finished.
On the other hand, Jackal slowly ate his food. His thought, which were a bit blurry, still lingered at the scene from the basement yesterday.
Unbelievable things happened right in front of his eyes.
Unbelievable yet so real.
It became apparent that it was his additional request.
“How much more do I need to break in order for you to believe me??”
Marie-Louise shattering the stones in order to gain Jackal’s trust was not a bad choice.
However, Jackal was a cautious man.
He looked for the hardest rock, clutched it as hard as he can and tossed it to Marie.
“Let’s see if you can break this too.”
“You have trust issues, don’t you?.”
Her eyes became fierce and then she crushed the stones with ease.
“Hey,..so many more do I need to break for you to believe in me?”
“How are you crushing them??”
“Hey. I already told you that it was possible with the strength of Wugong. I will teach you Wugong.”
“…..May I look at your hands?”
“Sigh You are a doubtful man. Have you been deceived throughout your life?”
“Yeah. That’s why I’m stuck in a hell hole like this.”
Marie-Louise smirked, placed the crutches under her armpit and then held out her hand that crushed the stones.
The pistol ready to aim, Jackal carefully approached her palm and examined it.
“May I touch it?”
“You’re very devious. How dare you attempt to touch the hand of a lady? However…I’ll allow it once. If I don’t, I feel that you will continue to doubt me.”
Stretching his hands, Jackal carefully stroked her hand.
Her hand was warm and soft. It felt good.
There were no devices and plots planted in her delicate hand.
“Aren’t you… touching my hand for a long time? It’s uncomfortable.”
Marie said accusingly.
At her words, Jackal pulled back his hands and asked,
“How’d you do it?”
“You’re really annoying. It’s Wugong. Wugong!”
Marie-Louise laughed in disbelief. But her green eyes shined.
“Ah, let me explain this to you, based on the standards of your culture. You know what a Taoist sorcerer? A sorcerer?”
“Ah. A Taoist sorcerer? Of course I know.”
“What’s the power that a Taoist sorcerer uses? There are special powers like Taoist magic and so on. ”
He had no idea how to explain it in German, so Jackal spat it out in Korean.
Of course Marie didn’t understand. So, he took out a handbook from his bosom and wrote ‘Sin tongryeok’ in Chinese characters and showed it to her.
“I think it’s a type of supernatural power.”
“Ah, Okay. Anyway, just think that I have those similar powers. I am a type of Taoist sorcerer. Strictly speaking, my roots are from Taoist.”
“Ah… The Wugong that you mentioned is Taoist magic?.”
All the doubts that shown through his eyes were no longer present.
Recalling his memories of his childhood, where he enjoyed reading the folk tales of Jeon Woo-chi and Hong Gil-dong, he asked
“There’s something like a Taoist sorcerer in Germany as well, huh?”
“Yeah~ Yeah~. You can say that.”
Marie replied with an annoyed look on her face.
‘Argh, he is so dull and rigid.’
But once Jackal understood, his actions are quicker than others.
“Well, how does the Taoist magic work? I have some guys that I would like to bust open their heads.”
“I used too much of my powers today, so I’m a bit tired. And the bunker is a mess. Lend me your handbook and pen. I’ll first write down all the knowledge that I know.”
And that’s how the second meeting ended.
The last spoonful of soup entering his mouth brought Jackal back from his flashback.
“Would you like seconds?”
He realized that Erika was next to him, staring at him and pulling his clothes.
“I’ll get it for you.”
Jackal smiled and stroked Erika’s hair.
“Hey, Erika! Why are you only giving Jackals seconds and not me, your own brother? Blood is thicker than water, you know!”
Hans got angry at her after witnessing the two interact.
“You take care of yourself well. Look! You already had three bowls.”
“Still! I’m bigger than Jackal!”
“You’re just big. Not smart.”
“Oh, Erika! How dare you treat your brother like this?”
“Here Jackal, enjoy.”
Jackal smiled with his eyes while he watched the sibling bicker at each other.
After the meal, Jackal leaned on the balcony wall and approached Hans.
An unlit cigarette was between Hans’ lips. Jackal lit Hans’s cigarette and looked down, together.
The ruins of Berlin spread out under the balcony.
The confederate flags of the Soviet were fluttering here and there.
Hans sighed deeply and let out some smoke before he started to speak.
“I’ve been thinking… and I think I’m going to give up on getting on the boat.”
Hans opened his once after blowing out some smoke.
The thick smoke flowed out with his deep sigh.
“I have to have pay for the boat, but I have no idea how I would live in another country. You know the only thing that we can do is fight in wars, right?”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
Jackal and Hans- Both have lived in the battle field.
They’ve learned how to live in war, and didn’t have the luxury to think about another lifestyle.
Once the war ended, the only thing they were able to do was physical labor.
They worked in intense labor environments, sweating until they were as heavy as wet cotton. Their pay was so minimal.
It was places where proud German soldiers couldn’t bear.
So that was why both Jackal and Hans voluntarily took the Hyena work.
“So, I’m thinking about becoming a mercenary.”
“According to my inside sources, they say that France is looking for German soldiers for mercenary.”
“There’s a problem in Indo-China colony or something? I heard that the people who live there are preparing for an independence movement. I don’t have any detailed information, but France is in need of experienced soldiers.”
Jackal never heard of it.
Blankly looking down at the town, Jackal was lost in thought.
‘Indo-China….isn’t far from Joseon, right?’
It was an enticing suggestion.
There was no need to save 10,000 dollars in order to go to Argentina.
If he returns to Joseon, he won’t need any identification to live, because his hometown was located at the foot of Mt. Baekdu, which the Japanese policemen cannot easily find.
“So, I/m going to join the military. But there’s one concern.”
Hans looked at Erika in the room with a sigh.
Erika was reading a book in a rocking chair.
“If I die, who’ll take care of her?”
“Forget about Indo-China then. Just live happily together.”
“Yeah, right? Damn it. If I had some money, I wouldn’t have to live like this.”
Hans turned back with a bittersweet smile.
“If I had some money, I wouldn’t live this miserable life, but go to Argentina and live there with Erica.”
“Anyway, thank you for the meal. I’d better go.”
“’kay. If there’s work, call me. I’m always ready!”
After saying good-bye to the Graham siblings, Jackal went back home. When he went down the stairs, the smell of vomit burned his nose.
“Ugh.. The smell … It’s terrible.”
Jackal had a weak stomach.
He hurried back into his house, closed the door and prepared himself to go out.
“Well, let’s see if that Wugong is ready for me.”
At the same time, Captain Grace of the U.S Army was meeting a figure with the same badge of rank.
Handsome, well-mannered and a voice pleasing to the ears.
He was a charmer.
However, Caption Grace felt an uneasiness from the guy standing in front of him.
An uneasy sense that cannot be explained solely by his external appearance.
“I am James McCauley from the office of strategic service (O.S.S).”
The office of strategic service (O.S.S) was the best secret service in the U.S Army.
He was known for taking the lead in capturing war criminals at the end of the war.
“If you are from the O.S.S…Is there someone you’re looking for?”
“You’re quick-witted. Actually, I am looking for a person. She’s a really cute girl. “
James McCauley held out a faded photo to Grace.
Grace’s eyes gleamed.
The picture contained a photo of a cute girl, who looked like a doll.
“It was taken about 3 years ago, so she’s grown a little now. These mysterious girls tend to grow quickly, like a cat.”
James held out his hand with a smile.
After looking at the photo carefully, Grace asked, returning it back to James.
“With all due respect, may I ask why you are looking for her?”
“That’s confidential. However, I just want to let you know that she’s a wicked child.”
James said, while putting the picture back.
His eyes suddenly became dull.
Grace instantly got the chills.
As if he was going to get killed by something unknown.
Even though James had left, his shaking did not stop.
Smoking a cigarette in a vacant lot, where the shooter could be seen, Grace thought about James.
‘He didn’t feel human… more like a well sharpened knife.’
It was the first time for him to have met that type of person.
Are they allowed to be called human beings?
The emergence of the human, that never encounter before cause confusion.
After r a long contemplation and calming of his heart, Grace realized that he smoked the whole pack..
His throat began to hurt.
Grace returned to the office and drank a glass of water. He suddenly recalled a long forgotten man, and his words.
‘Oh, that guy. Right. He did.’
The Asian who abruptly came and asked if I was looking for a girl.
Something wasn’t right.
Grace looked at the business card James left.
On the way to the bunker, there was a destroyed tank, standing all alone.
Jackal stopped in his tracks to look at the tank.
It was a Panther tank that had been famous for its balance of attack, defense and speed.
“I never expected to find you here.”
Jackal had a weakness for tanks.
He had lost his childhood in abuse and pain, but being a boy, he still had a streak of childhood innocence left in him.
Jackal circled the tank, appreciating its dimensions, touching it with his hands, kicking it with his feet and looking at it with profound affection.
“Panthers are always beautiful. It can’t be compared with the American matchbox-tanks. Let’s see who ended this beautiful Panther.”
Near the turret of the tank was a hole.
The size of the perforation was bigger than what he normally seen.
“Must have gotten a direct hit from a heavy caliber. The only thing that could make a hole this big is a JSU-152, a self-propelled artillery…”
Jackal slowly looked at the tracks where the tank had stopped, and its surrounding corners.
He quickly reached a conclusion.
“The Panther had been ambushed by a self-propelled artillery while advancing forward. It must’ve trusted the front glove and advanced. If it was a T-34, it would’ve been a different story. This wasn’t anywhere near able to protect itself from a monster artillery.”
Jackal sat on top of the turret of the Panther, paying his respects to the destroyed tank and the dead crew, and jumped to the ground.
Jackal’s expression stiffened.
‘Damn it. Now, of all times.”
Beyond the street, a soviet crowd was approaching.
He didn’t know who they were, but seeing that there was a military dog with them, they weren’t just regular guys.
Jackal knew that once they detected him, disappearing wouldn’t be a wise decision.
Unnecessary doubt would make them track him down, and soviet soldiers liked killing suspects without trial, or sending them off to the Siberia prison camp.
Jackal pressed his hat and walked towards them.
As they got closer., he could hear heavy breathing and the dog’s scrambling feet.
He had his head down, but Jackal still felt the cold eyes watching him.
Emotionless and ice-cold eyes.
From his peripheral view, he could see the red armbands attached to their uniforms.
‘It’s the NKVD. Just my luck.’
The NKVD’s official name was Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, the council of people’s commissars.
But in reality, they were a group of secret police officers.
Rather than proper soldiers, they were enlisted men of Stalin and their leader, Beria. They were gritty people who exercised their power on the national army and prisoners.
“Hey, hold up.”
One guy said in Russian.
Jackal froze, and answered in German, pointing at himself.
He faked an expression of fear, as if he didn’t know anything.
Jackal expressed confusion while turning his head towards the terrifying military dog and the soviet soldiers, who were staring back at him.
He was a cowardly countryman, without question.
Jackal felt a couple of them lose interest and their cold stares disappeared.
However, the guy who talked to him first was sill staring frostily.
“Asian. Where are you from?”
He asked in German this time.
“Chinese? Why is a Chinese man here? Don’t tell me you came here to study?”
Jackal knew better than anyone about the ways of the NKVD.
It wasn’t a good choice to answer positively or negatively to the questions of the NKVD. No matter what he chose, another question would be asked.
So the best way to answer them was neither positive nor negative, but a third answer that would be pretty plausible.
Jackal planned a scenario in an instant and said in an inarticulate tone.
He didn’t forget to put in a conscious Chinese accent as he talked.
“I followed my father because he was an importer, and got trapped in the war.”
“You should have a passport.”
The military dog growled.
Jackal glanced at the guy’s eyes.
Blue eyes that were lost in the darkness, deprived from emotions.
He had seen a lot of lies.
He would gaze down at everything – every expression, every accent, every cause and effect, every order of each word – and catch any inconsistency, even if it was as small as a grain of rice.
Jackal thought the guy was a bit overwhelming.
“I lost my entire luggage. I used to live in Dresden, but everything burned in the bombing. I was thankful for my life.”
“When were you in Dresden?”
Sharp questions kept on flying at him.
Jackal answered without any hesitation
“Around February this year. Fortunately, I was requisitioned as a laborer, and escaped disaster by moving anti-aircrafts in the suburbs.
“Is that so?”
The guy gazed at Jackal for a while and nodded.
The soldier with the dog leash walked over to Jackal.
The dog bared his teeth and growled in a low voice, and started barking ferociously.
The man smiled coldly at the dog’s reaction, and said,
“Dmitry smells something. What you hiding?”
“Oh…it’s probably this.”
Jackal started to pull out a stackable side-dish box from his bosom.
Before he pulled it out, the guns of the soviet soldiers all aimed at Jackal.
“Officers. It’s nothing dangerous!.”
Jackal raised a hand high in the air, and with the other hand, he opened the box.
The military dog shoved its snout to the box and sniffed around. Jackal hurriedly closed the box, stared up at the officer, and complained.
“It’s chicken soup. I’m taking it to someone I know, for she is unwell.”
The dog smacked his lips and showed a strong tenacity towards the box.
The soviet soldiers looked down at Jackal and finally moved their feet.
“Let’s go now.”
Finally, the tough soldier seemed to have lost interest in him.
Jackal stood there for a while, staring at their backs, feeling an adrenaline rush through his whole body.
“Whew…it was a good fight.”
Fights aren’t only done on battlefields with bullets.
Situations like this, where each word used can be decided for life and death, was also an important battle for Jackal.
Feeling the weight of the war weaponry hidden in his baggy coat, Jackal thumped forward.
‘If I learn Wugong, will I be able to crush them with my bare hands?’
He enjoyed the moment of blissful imagination, something that hadn’t come to him for a long time.
“Welcome. You look tired.”
Their third meeting.
This time, Marie-Louise greeted Jackal with a bright smile.
Jackal replied to Marie-Louise’s hospitality by putting his gun down.
“I ran into trouble on my way here. The NKVD.”
Just thinking about it made him shiver.
Jackal sighed deeply.
Marie-Louise looked at Jackal, and said in a cheerful voice,
“Oh, those human butchers. Haha I’m glad you survived even with your weapons. If they had caught you with them, you would’ve been on the train to Siberia, not here.”
“If that happened, I would’ve killed them beforehand.”
“Oh, aren’t you cocky.”
“Of course. My name’s well known among the U.S military.”
Jackal looked around, feeling much better.
Something was missing. Something important, that had symbolized the room.
“Huh? Where’s your uncle?”
Jackal noticed that the corpse that had been in the middle of the room had disappeared.
Not only the corpse, but all traces of the gangrene and maggots that had come with it, had been wiped clear.
“I cremated him in the incineration plant.”
Marie-Louise closed her eyes and crossed her heart.
“Impressive for someone with two broken legs.”
“I had no choice. If you are with an old corpse for too long, you could catch the poison from it. I just closed my eyes and took care of it.”
As she finished her words, Marie-Louise lifted a crutch off the ground, and pulled her body up vertically with the help of her other crutch.
“I can use my crutch as limbs, now that I’m used to it.”
Marie-Louise smiled at Jackal’s surprised and returned to her normal position.
“It’s like I’m watching a circus act.”
Jackal was surprised inside but pretended like he wasn’t, and spoke calmly. He didn’t know why, but for some reason, he didn’t want to give off the impression that he was under the control of an unidentified girl that endlessly surprised him.
“Anyways, take this.”
Jackal took out the sealed side-dish box from his bag and handed it over to her.
“Oh, is this for me?”
Marie-Louise took it with both hands, with the crutches under her armpits.
“What is it?”
The box she received was still a bit warm.
“Someone I know made it this morning. And it saved my life. It might not satisfy a rich girl like you, but you should eat it – it’s better than dry crackers.”
Marie-Louise opened the box and looked at its contents with an interesting look.
“Oooh, chicken soup. A smell I yearned for. Thank you.”
“We’ll leave once you are well.”
Jackal said bluntly. Contrary to the attitude of Jackal, Marie-Louise consistently smiled and said,
“I’m sure I’ll recover quickly with this delicious soup.”
“Ok, eat later. I’m here to learn what was promised yesterday.”
Jackal got straight to business.
“Oh, already? I was here all day alone in the basement. I’d like to chat for a bit.”
Marie blinked her eyes.
“I’m not just someone you could talk to. I’m too busy.”
Jackal bluntly responded but suddenly strong fatigue rushed in.
He felt slightly dizzy.
‘Ugh..Is it because I didn’t get enough sleep? I’m tired. And I did meet the NKVD.’
Jackal had actually stayed up the whole night, because the strong impression left by Marie-Louise yesterday had echoed loudly in his head.
‘What could she be? A ghost? A monster? Or is she what they call in the West – a witch -, or what they call back home – a Taoist sorcerer?’
Whatever she was, she was something that transcended human beings.
And she was willing to share her knowledge with him.
It was a situation that reminded him of a scene from a folk tale.
Jackal wanted to see with his own eyes what Wugong was, as soon as possible.
Marie-Louise Lane handed a notebook and a pen to Jackal from her pocket.
It was what Jackal had given Marie the day before.
Jackal took the notebook and checked its contents with inquiring eyes.
A few moments later, Jackal’s hands started to tremble slightly.
His voice was sharp, as if he was interrogating.
“What is this?”
Jackal opened the notebook in front of Marie-Louise and accused her.
Inside the notebook were densely packed Chinese characters.
“Don’t you know how to read it? You told me you had read the nine Chinese classics, so I wrote it in its original form. Is something wrong?”
“I’m not talking about that.”
“Then, what’s the problem?”
“I’m asking if these playful, barely understandable phrases are what Wugong is about.”
It was natural for him to be furious.
He wanted something more immediate, colorful, and dramatic, not a few words scribbled in a notebook.
“I think there was a misunderstanding.”
Marie-Louise’s eyes sank coldly.
Jackal felt an eeriness coming out of her, but he did not back down.
“What I wrote down there is the art of the inner force. It is the art of inner force that I have devised in my fourth life.”
“The art of the inner force?”
“People call the art of the inner and outer force as Wugong. If I have to explain with modern terminology…hm…tank would be good. You’ll know a lot about it, having been in war.”
“Tank? Tank… of course. That’s good.”
At the mention of tanks, Jackal loosened his stiffened expression.
He started to feel interested.
Marie-Louise’s shining green eyes didn’t lose him.
“You should know this from war, but a great tank has a thick glove, strong firepower, and a strong electric power to support it. Like a Tigger tank.”
“Tiggers are excellent tanks. Very good. Perfect balance, an engine sound that roars like a tiger from Mt.Baekdu, and an 88 caliber tank gun so powerful that it smashed America’s cans!”
Jackal talked dreamily, his hazy eyes staring into space, as if he was drawing an ideal lover in his mind.
“Nothing can be any more beautiful in this world! Personally, I feel like the sequel Quenis Tigger is, well, too big. Unnecessarily. Not my type. Tigger is an inspiration to all tanks, and I repeat, nothing can be more beautiful in this world!
“That’s a great compliment. How about me? Aren’t I prettier?”
With a confident smile, Marie-Louise slyly asked Jackal.
No matter how beautiful a tank was, she was sure that it couldn’t compare with her.
Jackal put on a serious face and answered her.
“No, Tiggers are much more beautiful.”
Marie-Louise was slightly offended.
“If we really had to choose, the one thing comparable to Tigger’s beauty would be a Panthers.”
“Of course. You really like tanks, don’t you?”
“It’s a man’s best friend in wars.”
Jackal’s conscious was being sucked in to a vivid recent past.
It was the battle of June, 1944.
After a formidable bombardment and artillery that burned all the vegetation of the surrounding mountains and rivers, over the trench, green tanks slowly showed themselves one by one.
“Puncher alarm! Puncher alarm!”
A nearby soldier shouted in a plaintive voice.
But there was nothing Jackal could do against the tanks. With the bullets in his rifle, he couldn’t penetrate the glove of the tank, and he didn’t dare reveal himself over the stronghold, where there was a rainfall of machine gun bullets.
“I’m outta here!”
A soldier who couldn’t endure the fear ran out of the stronghold, but as soon as he did, he was hit with a tank gun and was snapped into two.
Jackal saw the blood and the intestines flung out from the corpse and into the trench. Crouched down, he helplessly watched the tank of the allies destroying his camp.
It was a one-sided slaughter.
Anti-tank mines had all exploded in the bombing and the shelling, and the few left were of no use before the dozen tanks, that were shooting away.
The only thing left were the infantry soldiers in the stronghold.
The veteran allies stopped on the stronghold where German soldiers were crouched, and turned the tank by 360 degrees.
If the caterpillar of the tank, weighing dozens of tons, rotated on the trench, the soldier in the trench would be trapped under the weight and would become dead meat.
The screams from under the rotating tank were a bizarre sound, a sound of the dead march from a distant world.
Soon, the earth roared, and the sound of the engine that numbed the ears sounded like the sound of a beast breathing.
The allies’ Sherman tank stood right in front of the trench.
It was the grim reaper who had been playing the dead march.
“Am I going to be brutally killed in a place like this?”
Jackal thought of his mother… his home… and where she was.
When he had prepared for death, there was a loud explosion and the tank of the allies exploded.
“Tigger! Tigger at 11’o clock!”
The desperate cries of the allies could be heard.
Jackal could read fear from the screams of the previously triumphant allies.
The fear of death that he had just felt.
Having detected the fear of the enemy, Jackal raised his head over the trench and looked back.
Over the dense smoke of artillery, a low, steeled- tigger slowly showed itself.
Bombs spread low, a proud strong body, and the towering barrel that pierced the sky.
Jackal was enchanted by the object that made its enemies shiver in a second.
“Is that the…Tigger?”
It was the moment Jackal’s love and passion for tanks had sparked.
“Hey, hey. What are you thinking about? Hey.”
When he recovered consciousness, Marie-Louise’s cross face was right in front of his eyes.
Jackal found out he had been lost in thought. He smiled awkwardly and raised a hand in apology.
“Sorry. I got lost in memories when I heard the name ‘Tigger’.”
Jackal thought to himself,
‘Why am I like this? I keep on losing myself in front of her. It’s not like me.’
He wasn’t completely oblivious.
Hans Graham was an ignorant infantryman by nature and had no interest in tanks, and Erika couldn’t tell the difference between a Soviet and German tank.
There was nobody around to understand his only interest. Jackal had always imagined and drew tanks by himself.
“You’re too mean. Thinking about something else with a beautiful woman, like myself, in front of you. Are all men like this?”
Marie-Louise spoke to Jackal with a sullen voice. It was a charming voice, but Jackal didn’t waver.
“Well, the Tigger is special.”
Marie-Louise frowned again.
After a bit of an awkward silence, Marie-Louise coughed to awaken the surroundings, and with her unique pleasant voice, she started talking again.
“Anyways, we’re in the middle of an important conversation. The tank was just an example. Please stay focused, I’m trying to tell you something.”
“My apologies, I’ll focus from now on. Yes, you were comparing Wugong to a tank.”
“As least you didn’t lose the whole context of the story. Yes. I’ll start with the art of the outer force.”
Under Jackal’s consent, Marie-Louise sketched something like a tank in the notebook, and explained with the pen in her hand.
“The art of the outer force could be compared to the armor, the mobility and the sight of the tank.”
“Yeah? In what way?”
The glove, as its name suggests, was the thickest, the protection of the whole tank.
The mobility of the tank referred to the speed, the ability to go over inclinations, the ability to go over rugged terrains.
The sight was the mechanism used as the eyes of the tank, which guaranteed the accuracy of the bombing.
“The outer force basically focuses on training the bones, tendons and skin. Hard skin is compared to the armour, an agile and sleek body to the mobility, and accuracy of the attack and the sight.”
“Is it like martial arts?”
Jackal got to the root at once.
A smile appeared at Marie-Louise’s lips.
“Exactly. You could understand the art of the outer force as learning how to work weapons in normal martial arts and training your physical body.”
“I have learnt judo and karate. Although it was more like getting beaten up until yellow water came out from the mouth.”
Jackal made a wry smile.
It was due to his memories of his abusive childhood.
“Anyways, what is the art of the inner force? The thing written in this notebook.”
Jackal opened the notebook, which was densely packed with Chinese characters, and asked her.
“The inner force is the power and fuel, the caliber of the tank gun and the body of the tank itself.”
Marie-Louise drew circles in the tank on the notebook. She seemed to mean they were important, but it didn’t appeal to Jackal.
“Hmm. Isn’t the art of the outer force more important?”
“I feel like the key to tanks are gloves and mobility.”
“No matter how thick the glove of a tank is, it can’t move if the power is lousy. An unmovable tank is nothing more than a static torch car.”
She was right.
Jackal thought about it and nodded.
Marie-Louise continued talking.
“The same goes for the caliber of the tank gun. People usually say that the bigger the caliber, the more threatening it is. They say a 75mm tank gun is stronger than a 50mm but weaker than an 80mm.”
“It has to be, because the 88mm is from a high altitude antiaircraft.”
“However, if we follow the logic, the conclusion is that it’s always better to make a bigger caliber. But what happens if the whole tank is weak? No matter how strong the caliber is, the gun wouldn’t work. It could self-destruct, not being able to endure its rebound force.”
Jackal was quick at understanding.
He wasn’t just quick. He had an extraordinary brain that was incomparable to those of others.
If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have made it out alive.
“I understand what you are saying. How important the art of the inner force is. So in a nutshell, the basic of Wugong is the art of the inner force.”
A smile flashed across Marie’s lips.
Still smiling, she handed over the notebook to Jackal again.
“I think that your body is already ready. Your physical body is trained from the long experience of war. So your outer force exceeds the basics.”
“Do I learn the art of the inner force now?”
.”Here, take it again. The secret to strengthen your power source and your body is written here.”
Jackal received the notebook obediently this time, and skimmed through it with seriousness.
After some time, Jackal closed the notebook.
“Mind you. It sounds too hypothetical. I don’t get it.”
“It is normal for many to ask that, for the style of the masters is to faintly express about Wugong.”
“One of the reasons are so that it would be hard for people to understand, and also fundamentally enlighten those who subjective characteristics.”
Marie-Louise smiled at Jackal’s question and nodded.
“Action speaks louder than words. Watch and copy me.”
She grabbed the crutch, one in each hand, and made a vertical headstand. It was a clean movement, without any assistance or unnecessary side-movement.
“I don’t have a crutch.”
“No, but you have two hands instead.”
Jackal took off his American coat at her pushiness.
Clink! Clank! Clunk!
Grenades, submachine guns, pistols, anti-tank mines and many more.
Tremendous weaponry that had been inside his jacket dropped to the ground.
Marie, who had been doing a headstand, sighed at him.
“You really are a walking arsenal.”
“These are the only things I have to trust.”
He loosened the knife that had been fastened to his ankle, organized the weapons neatly, and proceeded to do a headstand on the floor.
“Now breathe deeply while you’re doing a headstand.”
Jackal wondered how to answer back, but gave up because it seemed pointless. He inhaled deeply.
The air of the basement went up deeply to his rib cage, bottom to up.
“Now exhale. Exhale as if you are exhaling every bit of air from your lungs. Leave nothing.”
Jackal did as he was told.
“Do you feel anything?”
“Nothing. I’m just tired.”
“Of course. It’s your first time. Well, we are pressed for time, so we’ll have to take drastic measures.”
Marie-Louise stayed silent at Jackal’s question.
When Jackal lifted his head up, the first thing he saw were the crutches on the ground.
“Gosh. When did she…?”
His heart had skipped a beat, but then a soft pair of hands grabbed his legs..
“Your posture is messed up. I am a forgiving person, but I am strict in this matter, so I cannot overlook it!”
Marie-Louise straightened out Jackal’s curved feet so they were vertical with the sky.
“Like this. You understand?”
Thankfully she did not have any ill will.
If she had, his two legs would have been crippled by her monstrous power and would’ve been broken.
“Now breathe in again. As if the air comes up till here.”
Marie-Louise tapped on Jackal’s abdomen, right above his crotch.
Jackal spoke up, feeling extreme discomfort.
“That’s my lower abdomen. My lungs are above it.”
“This is where the lower part of abdomen is. Where your new power will go in. Now, breathe in. Deeply. As if the energy of Mother Nature is permeating into you.”
Marie-Louise, with Jackal’s feet in her hands, was like a strict Spartan teacher.
‘Damn it! She’s acting like a Japanese drill sergeant.’
Jackal blamed his stupidity, but it was already too late.
“The problem is speed, so I’ll make a road! Endure the pain!”
Marie-Louise gripped Jackal’s legs with one hand, and crossed her crutch so she could grab his lower neck.
“Wh..What are you doing?”
Jackal found himself unable to move.
“In it goes! Power injection!”
As Marie-Louise’s cheerful voice rang, Jackal felt something he had never felt before, some kind of strange energy, entering his body from where Marie’s hand was, on the abdomen.
It was as if the physical body was being invaded by something unknown. It was disgusting and uncomfortable.
“Err…Ugh…Wh..What in the world is this?”
Feeling something extraneous spreading across his body, Jackal tried moving, but his already-confined body didn’t budge.
Marie-Louise’s lilting voice sounded from above when his conscious almost started to fade.
“You don’t have an engine, so we should make one. Right? I’ll make you a great engine like the one Dr.Porsche designed, so just wait a bit.
Time has pasted long enough for one to have had a cup of tea. Marie-Louise finally let go of Jackal’s legs.
His head hurt terribly, probably because he had been hanging upside down for so long.
Jackal shook his head and breathed deeply with his hands on his forehead.
“Damn it…What are you doing…”
“Now, what do you feel?”
“Only a massive headache.”
“Not your head. Your stomach.”
Marie-Louise’s eyes brightened.
Jackal looked up at Marie with suspicious eyes, and touched his abdomen.
The energy that had entered him had melted away like sugar in hot water, and his physical senses had returned to normal.
“So, how is it? Tell me how you feel.”
Jackal glanced at her with uncertainty, shut his eyes tight and tried to feel the change in his body.
But it was the same as before.
He wasn’t hurt or injured.
‘Huh? What’s this?’
He felt something on his lower abdomen.
Something he had never felt, something that was infinitely deep and serenely empty, like an empty room.
“There is something. Something…empty.”
Marie-Louise, hearing Jackal’s murmur, smiled with satisfaction and stroked her hair.
“That’s your engine room. Young Puncher (tank).”
“Now do a headstand again and repeat breathing. You’ll feel slightly different from before.”
He was a bit suspicious, but Jackal did as Marie-Louise commanded – He did a headstand again and breathed like she had taught him.
He straightened his legs perpendicular to the ground, and stood with his two arms on the ground. He inhaled vastly as if he was sucking the energy of nature, and exhaled without leaving anything in his lungs.
Nothing had changed.
He didn’t feel any change or anything special.
He felt something being filled up.
In the engine room that Marie-Louise had made for him, he could feel a small, but an evident filling.
Jackal’s eyes opened widely.
“What is this…feeling? I can feel something. Something in my lower abdomen being filled up….”
“I knew you were bright.”
With her crutch under her arms, Marie-Louise looked at Jackal and clapped.
The applause echoed in the empty basement with only the two of them in it. The incandescent light swayed, creating a brilliant shadow on the wall and the floor.
In the basement, Marie-Louise’s voice echoed loudly again.
“That is your fuel, Jackal. Fuel to make the tank, you, sprint.”
It had been a week since Jackal learned Wugong from Marie-Louise.
He polished Marie-Louise’s art of the inner force day and night, and he repeatedly read the secrets she had written for him in his notebook.
“The step of fullness is like a big tree which grows from the sturdy earth. The step of emptiness brushes the ground like a leaf…”
The sentences he couldn’t grasp at the beginning strangely became understandable as he read it over and over again.
However, the enlightenment was always deflected every time, and had not revealed its secret yet.
He had been only learning for a week.
Jackal wasn’t rushing.
He was satisfied with the slow changes in his body.
“I feel like I’m the only when transforming in this rotten city.”
Of course, he didn’t forget working for a living.
Today, Jackal and his partner Hans were going to ‘hyena’ in a small incinerator at the back of a closed hospital.
There were dreadful rumors about the place.
Rumor that the soviets placed prisoners with serious injuries altogether and burned them alive in order to stop an infectious disease from spreading.
“Stealing from a body dwelled with revengeful spirit. This is really like a hyena.”
Jackal and Hans looked for something that could be worthy among the burnt bodies.
Normally Jackal, who believed in superstition and had a weak stomach, would have been reluctant to do this job, but today, he was enthusiastic.
He opened the jaw of the skull to look at the teeth or picked up bony fingers and looked at it, things he would have usually passed on.
His business partner, Hans Graham, who was always with him, picked up Jackal’s change and said in surprise,
“Hey Jackal, did you find a stimulant?”
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“You seem to be overflowing with strength. Doing things that you wouldn’t do before.”
“Work out Hans, work out. You’ll feel much better.”
Jackal fumbled through the bodies, whistling.
Within a few minutes, he found something.
It was a golden tooth. He didn’t know whose, but it was probably from one of the skull’s that were lying around.
The shining golden tooth was big even to the naked eye, and the gold seemed pure enough to sell for a high price.
Hans sighed. He wasn’t lucky today.
“Damn it, I need a golden tooth too! An expensive golden tooth! You stupid skulls.”
Hans kicked the blameless skull.
The wrongfully kicked skull helplessly fell to the ground.
At that split second, something caught Jackal’s eye.
Jackal quickly picked up the fallen skull, removed the jawbone and twisted out something shiny from it.
Another golden tooth.
Jackal and Hans’ face lighted up.
“Damn it. That’s mine!”
Hans’s face distorted in frustration.
Jackal put the golden tooth in his pocket and smiled.
“Hey, you kicked away the good fortune. Take what others have thrown away. That’s the true law of a real hyena.”
“So is sharing.”
Hans tried grabbing Jackal with his big paw like hands, but Jackal escaped like a slippery eel and chuckled.
“Sergeant Hans Graham, with the badge of the first class Iron cross. Take your time to hyena for there are plenty of skulls.”
“They all look the same. When am I going to look through all of it?”
Jackal thought for a while, looking at the complaining Hans.
‘I do feel much better. My body is as light as a feather, and my senses have intensified.’
Jackal felt a small but clear distinct energy coming from his engine room.
It was another kind of power that seemed to be swirling lightly and seemed as peaceful as a lake at the same time.
‘This art of the inner force is worth more than I thought.’
Within just a week, there was a lot of change, enough for him to be able to feel it.
How would his body change in a month or two?
He felt happy just by imagining it.
Hans’s cautious voice, different from when he was being playful, hit his ears fiercely like a wave.
Jackal’s intensified senses knew what Hans was going to say.
A group of people were appearing from the entrance of the crematorium, one by one.
Their faces were exhausted and in despair, but their eyes were gleaming with anger and resentment.
Jackal could easily tell what they were.
No matter how much they covered their bodies with plain clothes, they couldn’t hide their nature of an injured beast.
He knew this because Jackal, once, had been a soldier who had fought under their discipline.
“Hey you, the two gentlemen over there. Care for a talk?”
A man who looked as if he were the leader of the group shouted from the entrance.
He was tall, and on top of his right eye was a burnt mark, which gave them the chills.
“What should we do?”
Hans asked in a low voice.
Jackal and Hans were both hiding weaponry.
Hans’s hand was inside his coat, where the hidden weaponry was.
Hans seemed to want to fight.
However, Jackal didn’t.
If they were the only ones with the gun, they could easily drive out the scamps, but if they also had a gun, Jackal and Hans would be in danger.
They would be able to take cover behind the concrete walls, but they themselves would have nowhere to hide in the crematorium.
If they had a gun battle here, their funeral would be in the crematorium, decorated with bullets.
Jackal whispered quietly and stepped forward.
Before he did so, he didn’t forget to loosen his fingers, to prepare to return fire if one of the remnants glaring at them pulled out a weapon.
4 boots passed by, stepping on the bones and ashes
Jackal stood in front of the tall man with a big burn mark.
He was in the lead, and he looked like the leader.
When Jackal stood in front of him, the man spoke, as he’d been waiting.
“I’m Heinz Gutman. I was one of the last ones to fight under general Weitling.”
Unlike his ugly and abominable looks, his voice was clear and strong.
He talked quickly, but didn’t stutter and his pronunciation was accurate.
Now that Jackal thought of it, he had fine posture.
‘Was he an officer?’
Officers with strong self-esteem had their own peculiar scent.
Heinz Gutman had a similar smell to the officers Jackal had met previously.
“Hello, Sir Gutman. Why did you call us here?”
Hans nodded his head and asked disrespectfully.
He, like Jackal, had smelled the same scent.
Hans Graham had an extreme dislike for officers.
He thought they were displeasing people with big egos, who kept on bringing up useless principles.
“Do you know where this is?”
Heinz Gutman asked coldly.
“What do you mean where? It’s where dead skulls are.”
Hans snorted sarcastically.
Hearing his words, the guys started to get angry.
“Where do you think you are? You hyenas.”
A man who couldn’t keep in his anger pulled out his gun.
In an instant, Jackal and Hans pulled out their guns as well.
It was a volatile situation.
After the agonizing silence passed, Jackal raised a hand and said slowly,
“We have also fought under general Weitling. Why don’t we all back out? War is over and we don’t have to get our faces red in anger.”
Heinz glared at Jackal and raised his hand s up as well.
“I guess there’s no need to aim at fellow soldiers.”
Hans didn’t seem to want to, but under Jackal’s cold eyes, he had to put his gun muzzle down as well.
Heinz ordered his man to put down their guns, and told all his men to step back.
Heinz Gutman said,
“You look like hyenas, but you should act accordingly to time and place. Those bodies are of comrades who once fought along with you. If you are a comrade who fought under general Weitling, shouldn’t you at least express some respect to their bodies?”
“Oh, is that true? Rumor was that the remains of this crematorium was of German soldiers.”
Jackal acted surprised, as if he hadn’t known.
Heinz glared at Jackal and asked shortly.
“You an Asian?”
It was a question he heard often.
Too many times, that he now grew sick of it.
Jackal’s eyes went cold
“I’d rather have you call me a volunteer of the allies than an Asian.”
Jackal didn’t hide his discomfort in his voice and eyes.
Heinz opened his mouth carefully, a bit surprised at Jackal’s strong reaction.
“The allies. You Japanese?”
“Let’s say the uncrowned performance secretary dispatched from the embassy of the empire of Japan.”
Jackal glared at Heinz directly, and told him his title clearly.
Of course, Jackal didn’t know if there was such a title. He lied, supposing that Germany and Japan were allies, and Berlin would have the Japanese embassy, and that an uncrowned secretary would be in an embassy.
His excuse worked on the German remnant troop.
Heinz wasn’t an exception.
He looked at a distance, lost in thought, than handed his hand out to Jackal.
Jackal looked at his hand for a while, and proceeded to shake hands.
“I am ashamed to see an ally comrade doing this away from home.”
“Do not worry. The orange forces shall destroy the devil-like Anglo-Americans, and win the final victory. I’m doing this now because surviving is the most urgent thing, but won’t there be good days soon?”
Jackal said slyly, lifting his hat up.
“I apologize for today. I never would have imagined these remains would be of German soldiers.”
“We’re thinking of burying as soon as circumstances allow it.”
Heinz didn’t stop Jackal from leaving.
When he waved his hand once more, his men stepped back a pace.
Jackal and Hans sauntered alone, receiving the glare of Heinz’s men.
“Jackal, were you from the Japanese embassy?”
Hans whispered with a surprised face.
“Of course it’s a downright lie.”
Jackal smiled sweetly and answered.
The men were still glaring at Jackal and Hans in silence.
Suddenly, a man stepped forward and opened his mouth suddenly.
“I saw you somewhere before.”
He was an old soldier, with a bandage around his forehead and a red nose.
His face was red and his breath reeked of alcohol as if he had been drinking since morning.
Jackal stopped his feet and observed the man’s face.
He didn’t recognize it.
He hadn’t seen him in any of his troops.
“I think this is the first time he had met. Aren’t you mistaking me for another Asian?”
“You, weren’t you in Normandy?”
His heart skipped a beat. But Jackal didn’t show any change of expression.
“If I were in the French embassy, maybe I would have gone. Unfortunately, I am part of the German official residence, so I hadn’t had a chance to go to the beautiful land. So long.”
Jackal showed his respect by lifting his hat, and advanced forward again.
“No, I’m pretty sure. ”
Jackal passed him, ignoring his words.
The man continued talking, despite the cold ignorance. With certain ty.
“You’re wearing an American coat and your hat is pulled down, but I am sure. You’re the Devil of Cherbourg, right?”
The Devil of Cherbourg.
With his words, his surroundings like a thunder.
Everyone that was standing looked at Jackal at once.
The resolved tension swelled up again.
Jackal felt the pressure better than anybody else.
Jackal turned around slowly.
Everyone’s eyes, including Heinz’s, focused on Jackal.
Receiving the attention, Jackal looked at the man, who had pointed to him, in the eyes and said,
“Let me ask you something.”
His voice was full of irritation.
“Say I really was the Devil of Cherbourg.”
“I saw you.”
“If I were the Devil of Cherbourg, would I be pulling out gold teeth from skulls?”
Jackal put his hands into his pockets and pulled out two shining golden teeth.
No one could refute his words.
To the remnants, the Devil of Cherbourg was legendary.
The saga of the man who had remained alone in Cherbourg, the man who had driven the occupation force to fear through sabotage and assassination. It was the only thing the gloomy German soldiers could talk about, laughing, one of the few hopes that they had.
A man like that, searching through dead bodies for some golden teeth? That was impossible, and Jackal had pointed it out.
The two teeth laid on Jackal’s hands were more persuasive than a thousand words.
The man who pointed at Jackal couldn’t say anything.
The mood was spoiled.
Now, even if he made the same argument, no one would agree with him.
“This is a sensitive time for all. Don’t put an innocent man in harm, my dear allies.”
Jackal put the gold teeth back into his pocket, and walked forward.
The Heinz party looked at Jackal leaving, and left one by one.
But Jackal didn’t seem to be in a good mood.
In fact, he was in the worst possible mood.
“Fancy someone recognizing me over here.”
He made it out this time, but there was no guarantee for the next time this would happen.
Jackal remembered the man on top of the submarine in the dark night.
“10,000 dollars! 10,000! Remember!”
It was the only realistic solution.
But the cost was an overwhelming barrier.
‘I should make money quickly. I’ll have to do something. Anything.’
Jackal’s steps quickened.
“Hey, Jackal, where are you going?”
Hans Graham asked.
“I have to stop by the American base. I’m done with being a hyena.”
“Is that so? Well then.”
Hans Graham smacked his lips as if he were sorry.
His gaze flicked from Jackal’s back to the empty air. His lips twitched a bit, and he made meaningless gestures.
Hans Graham called Jackal, who was getting farther away, as if he had decided on something.
“N..no, never mind. Be careful of the Americans.”
“How dry. You take care of Erika.”
With his last words, Jackal turned the corner.
Left alone, Hans Graham stared at where Jackal went off.
Hans Graham stood still, not moving for a long time.
“Hey, Jap. You’re here again. So, what do you want today?”
The American outpost.
American Lieutenant Donald McGally greeted Jackal, grinning like an idiot.
“I need some work to do. Captain Grace had told me to reach you if I needed a job.”
“Oh…did Grace say that?”
It seemed to be something new to Donald McGally. However, he soon thought of something and talked flippantly.
“Of course. Look at me. I keep forgetting these days.”
“Yes, did you think of something?”
“I think I’ll remember if I get some Cognac in my belly.”
“I’ll get you some next time.”
Donald smiled with satisfaction, patted Jackal on the shoulders, and talked with a cigar in his mouth.
“Captain Grace wants to see you.”
Like the last time, the meeting took place in the vacant lot behind the building with snipers watching over them.
Grace held a Lucky Strike in his mouth and lit it up.
He remained silent as he exhaled smoke.
It was an uncomfortable silence. He was getting rather annoyed.
If you called someone, you should say something.
But he just stood there smoking.
Jackal didn’t know whether he came here to smoke or to do business.
He had no idea what he was thinking about.
But Grace held the upper hand here.
Jackal had no choice but to wait for the bald man to speak.
After a long time, Grace finally spoke out.
“I was just thinking about something.”
He had kept him waiting for 10 minutes, but no apology. It seemed that Jackal was just another Asian guy to him.
“So, what do you need this time?”
“I need some work.”
“Work, huh? What a coincidence. I have the perfect job for a person like you. Just beat up somebody, but don’t kill him.”
“Who is it?”
“It’s a Soviet soldier called Andrei Popov. He always gets drunk and picks on the U.S soldiers. There were even several dangerous situations because of him. I’d like you to handle him so that he won’t do such things again. But don’t use weapons.”
After the end of the war, an invisible tension between the U.S and the Soviet Union had formed.
The question was: who will take the initiative after the mighty Reich collapsed.
Even the lowest ranking soldiers could feel this giant historic question. They knew for sure that the comrades of yesterday will become the enemy of tomorrow.
In such situations, fights between the soldiers may escalate into a huge problem, just like a petty fight between the soldiers at the borderline escalated into the Sino-Japanese war and killed tens of thousands.
So arbitrators like Grace preferred to use a third party to solve such problems.
“You’ll get good news soon.”
Jackal accepted the offer without hesitation.
“But why did you call me? I heard from Captain McGally that you wanted to see me.”
“Oh, I almost forgot.”
Captain Grace tapped his shiny bald head once.
Jackal thought as he watched him.
‘He must be losing his memory along with his hair.’
Hans must have burst into laughter if he heard this.
“The reason why I called you is because I wanted to ask you something.”
“Ask me anything.”
Jackal was ready to answer anything.
As long as it didn’t concern the fact he was the Devil of Cherbourg.
“You had asked me before if I was looking for a pretty little girl, right? Right here.”
“Oh… is that what you wanted to ask me?”
It was bit unexpected. Thought it was already finished. But it also wasn’t Jackal’s style to discuss about something that he was familiar with, right away.
“Is it still valid?”
“I can’t say, but I can give it a try if you want.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, there’s always a high demand for pretty little girls.”
“And what do you mean by that?”
“I turned her over to a Soviet officer wishing to remain anonymous.”
Jackal raised one eyebrow and smiled cruelly. He looked like a whoremonger with that look on his face.
Grace looked at Jackal deridingly and commented.
“You’re a real piece of trash.”
“If you want, I can save her again. But it’s going to be a bit costly.”
Grace pulled out a photo from his pocket.
“Have you seen her?”
“Let me take a look.”
Jackal was taken aback as he looked at the picture.
He was sure.
The girl in the photo looked younger, but the girl in the faded portrait was Marie-Louise Lane, the mysterious girl in the cellar.
“Do you know her?”
Grace glared at Jackal.
Even Jackal couldn’t keep his cool in this situation.
The photo was quite devastating to him.
As he felt Grace looking at him, Jackal instinctively knew that the bald man caught his surprise.
‘Damn, I had no idea.’
Jackal reprimanded himself.
It was because displaying his emotions directly was unlike his normal self.
He felt a sense of loss that he hadn’t felt for a long time.
But, Jackal was Jackal. He continued with his next move no matter what Grace thought.
“Wow! She’s really pretty, like a doll. I never imagined such a pretty girl would exist. Now I know why you are looking for her.”
Jackal explicitly displayed his surprise on his face. He didn’t forget to exaggerate.
‘There is a saying that goes ‘if you want to hide a tree, you should hide it in the forest.’ Now, baldy American, what is your next move?’
It was Grace’s turn.
Grace was suspicious of him, but he didn’t say anything.
He hadn’t expected a lot from him.
If he knew her, it was great, but if he didn’t, it didn’t matter.
If not, Grace would have questioned Jackal thoroughly.
“She must be different from the girl you mentioned.”
Jackal confirmed his victory in his words and said.
“Yes, the girl in the photo is much better.”
Grace let out a deep sigh and took the photo back.
“That’s a photo from three years ago. She must have grown a lot by now, maybe 18 years old.”
“I need to find her, but I have no clue where. I was a little hopeful when you mentioned the blond girl, but I guess she’s a different one.”
Grace spat on the ground and stretched his arms.
A strong fatigue seemed to hit him.
“But if you ever find this girl, call me. I’ll give you a handsome reward.”
“Yes, sir. I think I’ll be busy for a while.”
When Jackal left, Grace pulled out another cigarette and returned to his office.
As he returned to the office, phones were ringing here and there and the smell of cigarettes that were permanently permeated in the room, stimulating his nose.
Grace sat down on his desk just in front of the door. There were countless documents disorderly piled up on the desk.
Grace searched the pile, pulled out a name card, and dialed.
“Yes, it’s Captain Grace. The Asian that I mentioned, he just left the base.”
When Jackal left the U.S base, he headed straight for the Soviet occupation zone.
On the border between the U.S and the Soviet occupation zone, there were soldiers in different uniforms tightly guarding the checkpoints.
If anyone suspicious passed by, they stopped them for inspection.
Young men had to go through two inspections: once by the U.S and again by the Soviet soldiers.
And people were beaten up for no particular reason. If anyone had weapons, they were arrested immediately and sent to the military police.
Instead of passing through the checkpoint, Jackal climbed up the stairs of an abandoned building nearby.
When he reached the rooftop, there were several men standing by.
The men recognized Jackal and one of them held out his palm.
“You’re a little busy today, aren’t you?”
Jackal quietly took out a coin and put it on the man’s palm.
Then, the men took a long wooden panel and placed it on the edge of the building and the building across the street.
A temporary bridge between the two buildings was complete.
Jackal swiftly crossed the panel and reached the other rooftop. There were another group of men on this rooftop too.
Jackal took out another coin.
It was a 50 cent coin.
The men looked at the coin with greed.
“I’m looking for a man called Popov. They say he works at the borderline.”
“Popov? You mean Andrei Popov?”
A man seemed to recognize him.
Jackal glared at the man coldly.
It was a middle-aged man with cracked glasses.
He had seen him before, but he didn’t know his name.
He continued as Jackal’s eyes were fixed on him.
“I know him very well. He’s a real gangster. He’s always drunk with vodka. Whenever he has the chance, he points a pistol at women, drag them to an empty house and rape them. He also has quite a temper, so he beats anyone up if he’s in the mood. He even got into a fight with the U.S soldiers and injured them badly.”
“Where is he right now?”
Jackal asked as he waved a coin in front of them.
“Is there a problem?”
“He raped a woman I know. I need to get my personal revenge on him.”
“He’s probably at Jäger Bräuhaus. They say he got a penalty for beating up a U.S soldier.”
“Jäger Bräuhaus, eh? Thanks.”
Jackal gave him the coin.
A smile of satisfaction appeared on the man’s face.
Then, he asked worriedly.
“You going alone? He’s really strong. It might be hard for you to beat him.”
Jackal climbed down the stairs with a smile.
‘I’m the Devil of Cherbourg. What do they take me for anyway?’
Jackal was always confident.
He had the capability and the experience to support his confidence.
But soon, his confidence was shattered.
“…What is that..?”
The man called Andrei Popov at Jäger Bräuhaus looked more like a bear than a man.
A bulky man, who was two meters tall, was covered with muscles.
His arm seemed to be thicker than Jackal’s thigh, if not his waist.
Even if Jackal was a good fighter, he could not overcome the fundamental difference in physique.
If he had guns or knives, he might be able to beat him. But Grace asked him to beat him up with his bare hands and send him to the hospital.
“Do I need Hans..?”
He didn’t like to share his profit, but it seemed to be the only way.
Jackal quietly left Jäger Bräuhaus.
It was already getting dark outside.
Night in Berlin was a lawless world.
The streets were completely empty.
Jackal pulled down his hat, raised his collar, and walked quietly like a cat.
‘I need to head straight home. It’s already late.’
Normally, he would head to Marie-Louise’s bunker to train Wugong, but it was getting too late.
Roaming around at night was not a good choice.
The night in Berlin was dangerous even for a trained soldier like Jackal.
Soon, the familiar building appeared in the darkness.
A faint light was lighting up the entrance.
Before Jackal went inside, he looked around. It was an old habit of his, just in case there were any tails following him.
Jackal’s eyes beamed.
There was a shadow in the back.
There were two. Judging from the silhouette of the shadows, they were adult men wearing coats.
‘I didn’t sense anything.’
Jackal’s senses were very sharp. If he concentrated hard, he could even hear a leaf falling 30 meters away.
It didn’t make sense that he couldn’t have heard others’ footsteps, especially in the quiet night.
He had a bad feeling about this.
‘About 40 meters away. I better turn into an alleyway.’
Jackal turned and started walking.
He knew the area in detail.
Jackal calculated his next path in his head and continued walking.
All the while, he held out a small mirror to reflect his backside.
The shadows were behind Jackal.
He was not sure if they were chasing him.
But Jackal always chose the safest option.
Soon, a big trashcan and a small alleyway showed up.
Jackal walked into the alleyway.
The alleyway between the two tall buildings was completely dark.
He couldn’t see anything, but Jackal swiftly went into the alleyway as if he had night vision. He dug into a pile of trash on the floor.
Then, a dark hole even darker than the alleyway showed up.
A nasty smell came out from the hole.
It was a manhole to the sewers.
Jackal jumped inside and hid himself with the piles of trash around him.
Jackal did this all in a very short instant. He had practiced hundreds of times just in case he was followed.
‘Now, let’s see what they do.’
As he pulled out the pistol in his pocket, Jackal looked out of the manhole and observed the alleyway.
There was enough time since the others were about 40 to 50 meters behind.
Even if they ran at full speed, it would take about 10 seconds.
Suddenly, two shadows of men appeared at the corner of the alleyway.
Jackal’s eyes opened widely in surprise.
‘… They’re fast!’
Even a runner in the Olympics couldn’t have covered that distance in 3 seconds, and they were not even making any sounds.
The shadows stopped at the corner and looked around as if they were looking for something.
‘A tail, just as I expected. But who sent them?’
His heart pounded.
Jackal raised his pistol and glared at the mysterious shadows.
The two men formed a group.
One man stood guard.
And the other man stepped into the alleyway.
A flashlight lit up the dark alleyway.
The man said.
It was a powerful low-toned voice.
He looked around the piles of trash in front of him and looked at the steel fence beyond it.
There was a steel ladder leaning against the fence.
The ladder was fixed on the ground with concrete so that nobody could take it.
“Hey, I think he might have gone over this.”
The man standing guard came over.
“Perhaps he climbed over the ladder?”
Another flashlight lit up.
The two flashlights pointed at the ladder leaning against the fence.
One man approached the fence.
There was round-shaped barbed wire on the top of the fence and there was a steep bank of the Oder canal beyond it.
“What should we do? Go after him?”
One man asked. The other man shook his head.
“He’s a smart one. He seems to know the area very well.”
A whistle sounded from nearby.
It was the whistle of the Soviet guards.
There was gunfire and the men heard this clearly.
“I think we should go now.”
The men quietly disappeared into the darkness.
After a while, Jackal slowly came out of the manhole and looked around.
The mysterious men who were chasing him were nowhere to be seen.
The sound of a military dog barking was heard from the distance.
In a dark cellar.
Marie-Louise was unwrapping the bandage covering her leg.
As she finished unwrapping the thick layer of bandage, the splint and the cotton ball showed up.
Marie-Louise’s forehead was covered with sweat.
She carefully lifted the splint and the cotton ball.
Her discolored leg with the nasty wound showed up.
“If I hadn’t used my Force shield, my leg would probably have been cut off.’
Among the countless swords attacking her, Marie-Louise recalled the face of the man whose sword was attacking her fiercely.
“Was it James McCauley…?”
As she thought of the enemy’s name, she poked her discolored leg with a finger.
With a weak scream, a dark shadow came over her green eyes.
She repeated the same thing numerous times.
When she finally took her finger off the leg, her forehead was wet with sweat.
She closed her eyes and let out a deep sigh.
She still held out the finger that poked the leg.
There was a steel basin at her foot.
Marie-Louise put the finger over it and closed her eyes.
The sound of water drops echoed in the room.
The drops were coming from the tip of Marie-Louise’s finger.
Black liquid, resembling ink, came out of her index finger and dropped into the steel basin below.
The liquid was the decayed blood under the wound.
She had released the congestion in her vein, transferred the blood to the finger and discharged it at the tip.
She repeated this process for an hour.
The basin was smeared with black blood.
Her closed eyes opened wide.
She was hearing footsteps coming from a distance.
Each person’s footsteps had a peculiar characteristic, like fingerprints.
‘It’s that man.’
As she discharged the last drop of blood into the basin, Marie-Louise attached the splint and the cotton wool to her leg again and swiftly wrapped the bandage.
Her hand could not be seen with the naked eye.
The injured leg was soon covered with bandage like that of an Egyptian mummy.
As the sound of the bunker’s hatch opening echoed in the room, she wiped the sweat on her forehead with a handkerchief and stood up using a crutch.
Footsteps could be heard. She looked at the corridor beyond the destroyed door and waited for the man.
The sharp-eyed man wearing an army coat bigger than him and a hat pulled down, appeared in the darkness.
It was Jackal.
“Hey, you’re here.”
Marie-Louise greeted him with her beautiful voice.
As always, Jackal came in silently and pulled out a water bottle and a food box.
“Oh, what’s today’s menu?”
“As always, corn soup.”
Jackal sat down on the chair where the corpse that had committed suicide used to be and pulled out his weapons and arranged them on the table.
A submachine gun, a pistol, grenades, and a knife.
Marie-Louise stood up with her crutch and patiently observed Jackal arranging his items.
“I’m sorry to suddenly ask.”
Jackal said all of a sudden.
“Yes, go on.”
“You said you were being chased by the U.S army, right?”
There was a strange look in Marie’s eyes.
Jackal didn’t notice it because he was focusing on the weapons.
“Yes. What’s the matter?”
“Do you mind telling me who is chasing you, for what reason?”
Jackal looked at Marie-Louise.
Jackal observed her face and asked again carefully.
“Well, I was just curious. It’s been quite a long time since we met, and I’m really curious about your real identity. Where did you learn Wugong?”
He was pretending to act casually, but there was a reason for his actions.
Marie-Louise knew that Jackal was not a careless person who would speak out unnecessary stuff.
‘He only says what he needs to say.’
There are people who closed their minds to protect themselves from getting hurt.
These types of people only act for their own good and do not involve themselves in other issues.
They’re like lone wolves of the battlefield.
It was a characteristic that people who’d spent a long time in the battlefield had.
“Even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it.”
Marie-Louise quietly sat across from Jackal and put her crutches down on the floor.
She was sitting on a tall bar stool, so her bandaged leg hung in the air.
“Would you like to hear it anyway?”
Jackal looked at her and nodded.
“Actually, I have a past life.”
“A past life?”
“It’s like the rebirth they talk about in Buddhism. You know the stuff where you are born human if you lived a good life and a beast if you lived a bad one…”
Jackal remained silent for a moment.
He knew from experience that questioning her if such a thing was possible was meaningless.
The existence of the girl, in a maid’s clothes, was impossible from the first place.
“…what kind of past life was it?”
“Oh, you are not surprised? I thought you might not believe it if I talked about the past life.”
“I don’t believe everything you say, but that doesn’t mean that I deny everything.”
“So you are willing to listen, huh?”
Jackal didn’t deny it.
Marie-Louise sighed and looked at Jackal. Her eyes, shining like stars, were firmly fixed on Jackal’s face.
“In the past life, I was the strongest and wisest person on earth. People described me as unprecedented or the all-mighty. Well, I look ragged like this right now, but I still have all the memories of my past life. Everything I learned, and everything I experienced.”
“Is Wugong included?”
“When I was 8, I heard a voice in my head. It was the voice from my past self. It told me everything about Wugong. I was young, and didn’t know anything back then, but I couldn’t disobey it. Especially when I learned how much benefit it would bring. After that, I trained hard, and survived.”
Jackal let out a deep sigh.
It was not out of disbelief.
It was out of anger.
“If I had a past life like that, I wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“It’s not all good.”
Marie-Louise’s eyes beamed and she smiled weakly.
“There are people looking for me. Didn’t I tell you before? That people in the U.S army uniforms are looking for me.”
Hearing this, Jackal recalled his encounter with Grace.
Grace had a picture of Marie when she was young.
“Are you being chased by the military police?”
“No, it’s not the U.S army. They are secret and powerful beings hidden behind the U.S army.”
Marie-Louise picked up the crutches on the floor and stood up.
“It’s the Wulins.”
“They are human tanks with an engine room in the body, like you. They can easily do what a normal person cannot do.”
As he watched Marie-Louise talk casually, Jackal asked.
“Is covering 40~50 meters in 3 seconds without any noise a kind of Wugong?”
“It’s possible if you use Lightweight movement.”
“But why are you asking all of a sudden?”
Marie-Louise asked in curiosity.
Suddenly, Jackal realized he had made a mistake.
‘Is she becoming suspicious?’
He didn’t want to tell her yet about his situation and the people who were looking for her.
Jackal wanted to hear from both sides and stick with the one that is more beneficial to him.
But his plan could be ruined by his small mistake.
“Did you meet someone who was looking for me?”
Marie-Louise quickly got to the point like an arrow.
Her words startled Jackal.
As Jackal felt a murderous aura from her, he had the impulse to pick up the weapons arranged behind him.
“Where did you meet the person who used the lightweight movement?”
Marie-Louise continued her series of questions.
“No, I never said that.”
“Why does it sound like you’re questioning me?”
Jackal glared at Marie-Louise with a bitter smile.
Marie-Louise’s face remained expressionless.
She just looked at Jackal with her eyes gleaming like jewels, without blinking like a statue.
Marie-Louise was waiting for an answer.
‘Just like I thought, she’s good.’
Jackal let out a deep sigh and started talking.
“Let me be frank. I met people who were looking for you.”
Jackal briefly explained what happened yesterday to Marie-Louise.
“On my way to the crematorium, I found a Model 4 tank destroyer. It’s a peculiar one, but charming nevertheless.”
“Enough with the tanks.”
Jackal told her about the two gold teeth he got from the crematorium, his encounter with Captain Grace, how he ran away when he saw Andre Popov, and how he lost pursuers in the middle of the night.
Marie-Louise, of course, was only interested in a few parts of the story.
“What kind of person is the man who had my photo?”
“He’s a captain of the military police. To be precise, he’s the one who does all the dirty stuff in the occupied zone. He’s a captain, but they say even the field grade officers can’t do anything about him.”
Jackal let out a laugh as he thought about his shiny bald head.
“I think there must be Wulins behind him. The ones who chased you must be Wulins too, but you managed to lose them. It wouldn’t have been easy for a normal person like you to lose them.”
He said as he recalled the frightening experience he had yesterday.
“If they intended to catch up to me from the first place, I would probably have been helplessly caught. I think they watched me from a distance. Luckily, it was night with no one around and I was able to notice them, I wouldn’t have noticed them had it been daytime.”
A question flashed in Jackal’s head all of a sudden.
“Wait, since when did they start following me?”
“It’s probably after you met the Captain. The ones behind the Captain are probably desperate to catch me.”
“The ones behind him… are you referring to the person who broke your leg?”
“Maybe. But I have a question. It’s a more fundamental question.”
Marie-Louise roamed around the room with the crutch.
The crutch moved as if it was her leg and it didn’t seem awkward at all.
Even Jackal couldn’t do such a thing.
Her actions probably had an underlying meaning.
She was reminding him again, that she was not a normal human being.
Soon, the crutch stopped and her cold voice echoed in the room.
“Why did they try to find me through you?”
As she finished her words, Marie-Louise raised her head and coldly glared at Jackal.
There was no expression on Jackal’s face, but a lot of things were going on inside his head.
“What do you think happened? Jackal, there must have been something you did that I don’t know about.”
As Jackal remained silent, Marie-Louise questioned him again.
A weak groan came out of Jackal’s mouth.
‘She’s like the legendary fox with nine tails. She’s on the top of my head.’
He had to tell her the truth.
His lies were going to be caught anyway, so he might as well tell the truth.
Jackal knew that it was better to tell the truth if the lies could not deceive the opponent.
He knew because he had lied and been lied to countless times.
“When I first met you, you said you were being chased by the U.S army. So I went to the U.S army to ask whether they were looking for a girl like you. That was how I met Captain Grace.”
There was self-deprecation in his tone.
Marie-Louise looked at Jackal and asked.
“I needed money. As you know, I’m a hyena and I do whatever pays off.”
“I see. I finally found the last piece of the puzzle, Jackal.”
Marie-Louise finally smiled cheerfully and sat down on the chair. There was no more questioning or criticism.
She supported her chin with her hand and looked into the distance as if she was contemplating.
She was submerged in her thoughts for a long time.
Jackal stretched his arms and relaxed his muscles as he moved his body. Each time he turned his neck, a cracking noise echoed in the room.
“Why did they follow you?”
She turned her head towards Jackal.
“I guess there must have been something that they could find out through me. It was probably because they thought they could find you if they kept following me.”
“I guess so. But, I think we can see this problem from another perspective.”
“How much do they know about you?”
Jackal contemplated as he slurred the end of his sentence.
There wasn’t much to think about.
“Probably not a lot. I don’t even exist on paper. There’s nothing they can find out.”
That is, people who didn’t exist on paper.
“What do you mean?”
“I believe they don’t know a thing about you or me. They only have theories. That’s why they put a tail on you, to find out something.”
He understood what Marie-Louise was trying to say.
‘Am I the only evidence? That might be why they were so active. All I told Grace was whether he was looking for a girl.’
Thinking this, he asked.
“Then what should we do?”
“Just act normally like you did until now, even if you get tailed. But if you’re followed, you should never come here. You know that, right?”
“Of course. I’ll come here only in quiet nights.”
Jackal had acute senses, but even he could not find the Wulins in daytime. Continously tailing someone while keeping a distance of 40~50 meters was impossible for normal people in the first place.
“Although it’s a little dangerous at night,”
“If your Wugong gets strong, it won’t be dangerous. You are a fast learner and you will be strong soon. Nobody will be able to stop you.”
It was a good thing.
“Oh, you mentioned the giant called Andrei Popov before, right?”
“Yes, what about him?”
She hadn’t seemed to be paying attention, but she had grasped every detail. Jackal beamed as he heard the name that was his mission.
“I’ll teach you how to beat the giant.”
Jackal was taken aback.
“That giant? Like I told you, he’s a bear. I can’t do it.”
Unlike Jackal, Marie-Louise was full of confidence.
“You have your engine room. Now, stand up, young Panzer.”
As fast and smooth like a flying swallow, Marie-Louise did a somersault with her crutch.
“Hey, what are you doing? Is your leg okay?”
“Oh… It hurts a little.”
Marie-Louise slightly frowned.
But she soon smiled merrily again and approached Jackal.
“Today, I’ll tell you how you can put your inner force in your fist. If you learn this, you won’t have a problem with the Soviet soldier.”
Marie-Louise’s hand grabbed Jackal’s and dragged him forward.
“Now, ignite your engine room just as I taught you. Slowly and fiercely.”
Jackal stared at his fist.
To Jackal, a fist was for holding weapons. For him, it was never a weapon itself.
But it was different today.
He had to beat down a man with only his bare hands.
Jackal continuously tailed the giant soldier.
The Soviet soldier called Andrei Popov.
He was big and strong, not only was he feared by his enemies but his allies as well.
He usually drinks in a bar, but from time to time, he would go into civilian houses and rape women.
There was an order from the command post forbidding any crime against civilians, but the giant man didn’t care at all.
Today too, he went into random houses looking for young women and mercilessly raped them.
The man with the strong physique didn’t need a gun or any companions.
He effortlessly overpowered the men and old men blocking him and raped the woman he selected.
The children looked at him with fear but he didn’t care. He even took out chocolate from his pocket and threw them as if he was feeding animals.
Leaving behind cries full of sorrow, Andrei Popov left the house with a smile as he fixed his clothes.
There was a man in faded work clothes and a hat pulled down outside the house.
The man seemed to have something to with him as he was clenching his fists tightly.
It wasn’t the husband of the woman he raped. He had beaten him to near death when he first entered the house.
Then…was he a relative?
It didn’t matter to Andrei Popov.
A short German sentence came out of his mouth.
But the man, much smaller than him, didn’t budge.
There was a cruel smile on Andrei Popov’s face.
All of a sudden he attacked the man and tried to grab him by his collar.
He didn’t even need to use his fist for that kind of man.
If he raised him up and threw him headfirst to the concrete ground, he would have a spasm and then pass out or die.
But the man’s right shoulder shook.
‘He’s trying to hit me? How dare he…’
Andrei Popov knew that the man’s fist would not have any effect on him.
He thought he might as well receive the blow and grab the man by his collar.
He saw the little man’s fist coming towards his face. Andrei Popov stretched his arms toward the man.
With the sound of something breaking, Andrei’s face turned to the side.
Broken teeth, blood mixed with saliva came out of his mouth.
Another blow hit him again.
It was the solar plexus right below his ribs.
Andrei Popov’s eyes opened wide.
Another blow hit him.
This time on his chin.
His eyes blurred as his head shook violently.
Andrei Popov instinctively raised his two hands at the man in front of him.
But the man was already behind him, ready to strike again.
This time it was to his side.
With a short scream, Andrei Popov’s giant body staggered.
The giant castle, that seemed undefeatable, was completely devastated by a man far smaller than him.
‘I can’t believe this. It’s incredible. This power! I can’t believe it.’
The little man was none other than Jackal.
As he felt his inner force pumping powerfully from his engine room, he kept pounding the unfortunate man in front of him.
“Hey, stop. You’re going to kill him.”
Hans Graham, who was standing guard, stopped Jackal.
Jackal saw the bloody Andrei Popov beaten beyond recognition.
His face was nastily damaged with the eyeball dropping down where the cheekbone used to be. He was making noise that no one could understand as he gasped for breath.
“Let’s go, before the Russians come.”
Jackal came back to his senses and disappeared into the dark streets of Berlin with Hans Graham.
“You were supposed to beat him up a little. Why did you beat him like that? What would’ve happened if I hadn’t been there?”
As they ran together, Hans reprimanded him.
“Sorry, really sorry. I had a lot against him as I watched him rape the women.”
“Phew…I can’t believe that me, your backup, had to tell you to keep it down. You are one infuriating bastard.”
Hans was Jackal’s insurance.
Just in case Jackal failed to overpower Andrei Popov with the power Marie-Louise taught him.
But Jackal had effortlessly defeated Popov and almost killed him.
He might die, or he might live the rest of his life crippled.
As he ran through the night streets, Jackal looked at his fist again.
Until now, it was a hand that handled weapons. Today, the hand was the most deadly and cruel weapon.
‘That’s incredible power. Simply incredible.’
As he felt his inner energy jolting in his engine room, Jackal smiled brightly in the darkness.
“I’m a tank.”
“Hmm. I didn’t expect a lot. I’m surprised that you pulled this off, Jackal.”
Captain Grace stared at Jackal in surprise.
It was probably the first time the man, who had always ignored and looked down on him, expressed surprise towards Jackal.
Jackal realized what was happening.
‘This man, he gave the mission thinking it was impossible from the first place. Come to think of it, beating him up without any weapons was an impossible mission.’
He could’ve been beaten up by that man.
The U.S army captain must have thought of that in the first place.
He wasn’t fond of Jackal from the beginning.
“I precisely timed the attack. I got him right after he committed a rape in a civilian’s house.”
“Umm. That’s unfortunate. May the Mother Mary bless the unfortunate woman.”
Grace drew a cross in the air.
“You could have attacked him when he was committing the rape. You could’ve saved the civilian, and you could’ve gotten him when he was distracted by the excitement.”
Jackal replied calmly.
“I didn’t want my face to be known to others. Even if the civilians were thankful for me, they would have revealed everything under the NKVD’s torture. And as you know, I’m an Asian, which is rare in this place.”
“That makes sense.”
Grace smoked the cigarette again, and after a moment he pulled out an envelope from his pocket.
“It’s the payment. I also threw in some extra.”
Jackal opened the envelope and checked the contents.
There was a huge amount of dollars inside. He didn’t count, but it seemed to be about a 100 dollars.
‘Just as I thought, the U.S army has a lot of money.’
A hundred dollars for a petty job.
He couldn’t imagine how much a big job would pay off.
‘I’m beginning to see the 10,000 dollars coming true.’
He smiled in satisfaction.
Grace glanced at Jackal’s satisfied expression and said.
“If I have another job for you, I’ll let you know. How can I get in touch with you?”
“I’ll come in person. I don’t have a particular place to go.”
When he parted with Grace and left the U.S base, Jackal felt 2 people tailing him from a distance.
Normally, he wouldn’t have had any idea, but his improved senses and preparation made the detection possible.
‘Just like what Marie-Louise said.’
They were probably the ones who followed him before.
The Wulins with supernatural powers. They were probably much stronger than Jackal and he could not defeat them by power.
But he was neither nervous nor afraid.
Instead, their presence made Jackal excited .
“Now, admire my ass.”
He felt a strong energy burning in the engine room.
His pursuers will probably have a hard day today, following him around.
Until they get lost in the flood of meaningless information.
A document was delivered to James McCauley.
On the front page it was written “Report on the 13th, vol.1.”
James McCauley read the document expressionlessly. The document was about Marie-Louise.
“Just as I thought… A French woman.”
The father of the 17 year old girl was Croix Lane, a Frenchman from Ile-de-France. As a Huguenot, he left France and after passing by Netherlands, finally settled in Frankfurt, Germany, as if he was trying to keep the tradition of his ancestors. In Germany, he married a Jewish-German named Erika Lewinsky and had a son and a daughter.
There was nothing special about the man who passed away at the age of 48. He was a carpenter, but was not popular compared to his German counterparts as he worked as leisurely, as expected from French.
He worked as a laborer in the cargo handling area at the railway and stayed there until he was killed by the bombing led out by the Allied forces in 1944.
There was nothing special to be found in the documents that came from France and Germany.
He was a typical lower middle-class laborer, with no special achievements.
His wife, Hannah Lewinski was pretty much the same. Graduating from school with low grades, she didn’t work and then lived the rest of her life as a housewife after marrying Croix Lane.
But her death was miserable. Because she was partly Jewish, she was dragged off to Auswitz. She died in pain just like the other unfortunate Jews.
Her remains were never to be found.
The problem was the offspring.
James McCauley stared at the eyeball inside the glass jar. The red eyeball in formaldehyde, which looked like ruby, was staring straight at him.
It was an eyeball that was taken from someone’s eye socket.
James McCauley stared at it whenever his mind was stuck.
“Why do you keep coming back to this world? Are you not sick of the loss, pain, and death that repeats forever?”
But the eyeball didn’t answer.
It just continuously stared hollowly at some point in the room.
A knock echoed in the room.
James McCauley covered the scattered documents and said,
The knob turned and the door opened.
A man in a U.S army uniform appeared.
He bowed to James and said in a businesslike fashion,
“I have finished the search that you ordered.”
“I could not find her. She seems to have fled to the Soviet occupation zone as expected.”
“Soviet occupation zone.”
James McCauley’s forehead wrinkled.
A low sigh came from his mouth.
“Should I push ahead with the search?”
The man asked in a careful tone.
James contemplated for a moment, but shook his head.
“It’s not time yet. There are some bad rumors going on.”
“Yes. I ordered a pursuit unit to trail a hyena and they accidently discovered it.”
James McCauley poured the whisky into a cup and drank it in once gulp.
“What did they see?”
As the man asked, James said with sigh,
“They reappeared. The ones that disappeared after being defeated by us.”
“By ‘they’… you mean?”
“I think you got it. They’re the ones who wander in the streets of Berlin at night wearing Soviet uniforms.”
At that moment, in a Soviet field hospital.
A group of men in Soviet uniform went into the hospital room.
There was one bed in the room and on the bed laid a giant man.
The man in front of the group stared at the patient on the bed.
“Is this Andrei Popov?”
As he asked, a man behind him took out a photo and compared it to the patient.
But the patient’s face was injured beyond recognition.
“That won’t be necessary.”
The middle-aged man with blue eyes approached the bed.
The tag on the bed read ‘Andrei Popov.’
The man observed the patient.
It was not long before he reached a conclusion.
“It’s obvious. It’s the work of Wugong.”
Fear spread among the men who were standing behind him.
“Don’t be frightened, comrades. The Wulins are not as strong as you think.”
The middle-aged man smiled.
It was a smile that showed his fearlessness.
“If you know how to react, they aren’t any different from ordinary street gangs.”
The fear in the men’s faces started to fade away.
The middle-aged man looked at his men and said,
“Find the person who did this damage.”
“I don’t think this is going to work.”
Hans’s face showed reluctance.
“Just keep watch, stop worrying. I’ll take care of it.”
On the other hand, Jackal was confident.
He stared at the house in front of him with sharp eyes.
Two floors. There was a high fence around it and a small garden in front of the building.
Two Soviet soldiers were guarding the entrance.
Perhaps there are more guards inside the building.
Today, Jackal had to rescue a man named Knyphausen who was being held hostage in the building.
Knysphausen was a very capable scientist who was set to be sent to Soviet territory tomorrow.
It was against the US’s interest that he worked for the Soviets. So Captain Grace gave a mission to Jackal.
Jackal thought of the target in his mind. The image of Captain Grace’s bald head flashed in his head.
“The job is simple. Rescue the doctor and bring him here. But if the rescue cannot be done…. make him unable to work for the Soviets.”
The easier way is to simply kill the doctor.
But Grace promised a huge bonus if he could bring the doctor alive.
He was not a humane person, but he always kept his promise when it came to money.
“Jackal, I don’t think we should do this.”
Hans showed his reluctance again.
Jackal felt a little angry.
‘Didn’t you just say you’ll follow my orders a moment ago?’
Recently, Jackal acted alone for most of the time.
As he started working for Grace, he didn’t have to work with the hyenas and after learning Wugong from Marie-Louise, there wasn’t much need for brute force.
There had been a time when Hans Graham was necessary for Jackal, but that wasn’t the case anymore.
Unless, it was a job which required more hands.
Anyway, for this reason, there was no reason for Jackal to work with Hans Graham, but then Hans begged Jackal to give him some work.
As he knew Hans’s shy character, he was reluctant. But he took Hans along with him upon hearing that Erika was starving. However, he only kept sighing and saying pessimistic words all along the way.
‘I should not have brought him here.’
Jackal regretted his decision.
“Jackal. This is too dangerous. I am advising you as your comrade. You could get killed.”
“It pays because it is dangerous. We can’t keep on searching corpses and garbage.”
“It’s better than dying.”
“I’m not going to die.”
“What makes you so certain?”
Hans let out a sarcastic laugh. His eyes flashed as he stared at Jackal.
He was definitely angry. But it was the same with Jackal.
“I don’t know about you, but I fought really well in the last war.”
“Better than a 1st grade iron cross?”
The 1st grade iron cross was a trophy given only to the ones who made extraordinary accomplishments during the war.
Hans Graham had the 1st grade iron cross.
He always showed off this fact to the others to prove that he was a capable soldier.
However, the medal did not work on Jackal.
“Wasn’t the cross given to everyone at the end of the war?”
Jackal had a sarcastic smile on his face.
Hans’s face twisted with anger.
“Didn’t they let anyone who wanted to just take the cross during the Battle of Berlin?”
That was the honor of a crumbling nation.
Jackal stared at the cross.
It was the cross that even 14 year old boys, who should have been studying at school, took from the top of the box and put it on the uniform that was too big for their size.
“What you said cannot be forgiven, even for you.”
For Hans, the iron cross was everything.
Hans stood straight in front of Jackal.
He was two heads taller than Jackal with broad shoulders. On top of that, Hans had experience in wrestling. His muscles and movement was different from that of a normal person’s.
“I’m not going to say sorry”
However, Jackal didn’t back down an inch.
Jackal was no match for him before, but now, Jackal had his engine room that was getting stronger day by day.
Hans stared at Jackal for a moment, bit down his lip in rage and pounded the blameless wall.
How Jackal knocked down the famous giant named Andrei Popov.
The fight where Jackal knocked down the giant with his bare hands was inscribed deeply in Hans’s memory.
“… I’m out.”
Hans said despondently. His physique seemed smaller.
Jackal didn’t say a word and stared at Hans’s back as he disappeared into the darkness.
He let out a sigh as Hans disappeared.
‘That was a meaningless conflict. Normally, I wouldn’t have had such problems..’
He knew that Hans had a lot of fear and complaint, so he was used to it.
But today it seemed that he ran out of patience. It was not a big deal, but he felt a strong pang of anger that made his hair stand on end.
Or perhaps it was the heat of the engine room that was burning in his stomach.
‘I guess I’ll go beg his pardon with some delicious food later.’
But now was the time to focus on the target in front of him.
Jackal regained his cool and keenly observed the house in the darkness.
In the darkness, Jackal closely observed the guards.
He looked at their habits, where they were looking at and listened to what they were saying.
This was all precious information to Jackal.
By understanding what kind of men the guards were, Jackal could grasp their sense of responsibility, their capabilities as a soldier and how important they considered the mission.
“Damn, time is going really slow, I want to get to my bed and get some sleep.”
“Why don’t you stop gambling? You’re always tired since you stay up all night and play dice.”
After 30 minutes, he could hear what they were talking about.
Judging from their conversation, they didn’t seem to be very capable soldiers.
He could not feel any tension in their actions.
They leaned against the wall, sat on a chair and drank from the bottle of vodka in their pockets as they chased away sleep with meaningless conversations.
To test them, Jackal took a small stone and threw it at the wall near them.
A weak sound dissipated in the night air.
Jackal stooped down and observed the guards’ reaction.
But the guards didn’t show any reaction to the sound.
After 5 minutes, Jackal threw another stone, as small as the previous one, to make a similar sound.
Again, the guards didn’t show any reactions.
‘I guess they can’t hear a weak sound like this.’
After another 5 minutes, Jackal threw a bigger stone at the wall.
The sound was a little bigger this time.
“Hey, what was that?”
“That’s probably just rats running around.”
Jackal heard the whole conversation.
‘So, I guess they can hear sound as big as this.’
He collected another piece of precious information.
Jackal stood up in the darkness.
Like a ghost, he silently walked to the back of the house.
The building was surrounded with a beautiful stone fence, about 2.5 meters tall.
On the top of the fence, there was a round-shaped barbed wire, so it seemed to be hard to cross. Jackal caught a grasshopper, stuck it on a wooden stick, and tapped the grasshopper on the barbed wire.
Once the grasshopper touched the wire, it burned with a small explosion. The smell of smoke coming from the burned grasshopper stung his nose.
“I guess that’s why there are so few guards.”
The only way into the house seemed to be through the main entrance where the two guards were.
But, how was he going to get past them?
Even if he had strong powers, it was still dangerous to show up in front of them.
They were brainwashed that the corpses of Germans were an art and a revolution, and several mistaken killings were not taken seriously.
But he couldn’t start a firefight.
There may be other Soviet soldiers in the house and there could be reinforcements nearby.
It was almost impossible to rescue the hostage all by himself.
Jackal looked again at the barbed wire.
‘If I can find the power source of the wire…’
The public electricity was not yet repaired.
So there must be a generator nearby.
A generator always made a lot of noise.
Jackal walked along the fence and listened closely for the generator.
Soon, Jackal heard a weak sound.
It was the sound coming from inside a sewage pipe sticking out of the ditch, behind the building.
The pipe seemed to lead to the interior of the building.
‘Hmm… I think a person might be able to go in.”
It was an unexpected discovery.
He normally would not have chosen this path because Jackal had a weak stomach and he didn’t try something that would stimulate it.
But it was different this time. The jolting heat inside his body had changed his characteristics.
“Whew… this is f*cked up. Do I really have to do this?”
Jackal took out his scarf, put it around his mouth and nose and went inside the pipe without hesitation.
Even with scarf, the nasty smell of the sewer hit his nose. As he suppressed vomiting, Jackal clenched his teeth and crawled forward.
He could hear the generator more clearly as he went deeper.
When he finally got past the filthy sewage and the mice living in it, a hatch appeared.
‘Hmm… what’s this?’
It was an ancient hatch that seemed to have been made hundreds of years ago. The surface was rusty and there were words written on it which Jackal could not read.
He didn’t understand what was written on the hatch, but he knew that there was something beyond it.
Before he opened the hatch, he looked around the vicinity and then grabbed the handle and turned it powerfully.
‘It’s not budging at all.’
Before, Jackal might have simply given up, but now he had the incredible power of the engine room.
Jackal focused and concentrated his inner force jolting in his engine room.
He recalled something Marie-Louise had said before.
“The real power comes from rage. Think of the beings that distressed you, that distresses you and also think of revenge. So that your rage may burn everything up.”
With a meaningful smile, the image of the green-eyed girl faded into the distance.
Jackal held his breath and let the inner force in the engine room rage on.
Rage, revenge, pain, enemy.
He repeated these negative words in his head like a prayer.
A flash of madness started to burn in Jackal’s eyes.
An incredible power started to rage throughout his body.
Jackal grabbed the handle of the hatch and turned it.
The hatch, locked down for hundreds of years, started to give in with a spooky metallic sound.
He thought that the Soviet soldiers might hear the sound of the hatch, but he couldn’t stop turning the hatch that was already giving in.
The hatch finally opened.
A dusty room covered with spider webs and mold showed up before Jackal.
The walls of the room seemed to be hundreds of years old, like the hatch.
“This house seems to be very old.”
There were many old houses in Europe.
Some of them even dated back to the middle ages.
This house must also be one of those old houses.
The room seemed to have been abandoned for quite a long time.
There were no objects that stayed intact. Only small fragments that used to be something laying on the floor.
Soon, Jackal found a stairway leading up.
He carefully climbed the stairs. The end of the stairway was blocked by a wooden panel.
He turned off the lantern, put it in his pocket, and carefully removed the panel.
With the sound of a cloth being dragged on the floor, a faint light stimulated Jackal’s eyes.
‘I’m a lucky man.’
He had successfully infiltrated the house without being detected. That would mean that he could escape easily it too. He only had to go back the way he came from.
Jackal quietly went into the house and looked around, trying to find the Doctor.
“I’m sorry, but I believe I won again.”
“Damn, you merciless Hitler!”
There was a conversation in Russian coming from nearby.
Jackal wasn’t sure, but there seemed to be about 4 to 5 people. They were probably soldiers.
‘I guess it was wise not to fight them face-to-face.’
Jackal took a detour to avoid the soldiers and climbed the stairs leading to the second floor.
Soon, he saw a faint light coming from the gap of a door.
Jackal approached the door and quietly opened it.
There was a man sitting on a desk.
He was continuously sighing as he drank some liquor.
Jackal approached him holding a pistol.
The Doctor’s eyes opened wide in surprise.
Jackal said as he put his index finger to his mouth and took a step forward.
“I’m not an enemy. I’m here to rescue you.”
“Re… rescue me?”
Knyphausen said in confusion.
“We don’t have much time.”
Jackal unwrapped the scarf covering his mouth and smiled.
Knyphausen hesitantly looked at Jackal. With the filth from the sewer, Jackal looked like a beggar. He was Asian, and had a fancy pistol that didn’t suit his looks.
“Would you like to go to America, the land of freedom? Or the Soviet Union, the land of Stalin?”
When he heard the word ‘America,’ Knyphausen had a sudden change of heart. He drank the whole bottle of whisky on his desk and stood up.
“Where should I go?”
“There’s a secret passageway in the underground. Did you know about that?”
“Oh, that stone room? I went there just out of curiosity when I was little, but never since.”
“There is a way out in the room.”
Jackal observed Knyphausen’s room. He noticed the lamp burning on Knyphausen’s desk, put it just under the curtain and opened the window.
The curtain flapped from the wind coming through the open window and the curtain brushed by the fire burning right below it.
“What are you doing?”
“This will distract the Russian soldiers.”
Jackal checked what the curtain was made of. Then he dipped his hand in the oil of the lamp and let the oil soak through the part of the curtain that was touching the lamp.
Jackal moved swiftly.
Knyphausen hesitated for a moment, but he soon followed Jackal.
There was no one in the corridor.
Jackal led the way. As they were coming down the stairs, a Soviet soldier holding a bottle of wine passed by as he murmured something that they could not understand.
“That… is my favorite wine…”
As the Soviet soldier went back to the kitchen, Jackal and Knyphausen went inside the entrance of the stone room locate at a corner of an empty room.
“Watch your steps. It’s dark.”
Jackal moved the carpet covering the entrance and closed the door carefully so that the Soviet soldiers wouldn’t notice. Jackal turned on the lamp and pointed at the end of the sewer.
In the distance, black smoke rose with a beam of light. Urgent shouts echoed from the distance and there was a dozen headlights heading in that direction.
Jackal and Knyphausen looked at the scene unfolding in the distance as they sat on a low hill.
“You pulled this off? You?”
It was the first time he saw Captain Grace so happy.
The man, who was always expressionless and tired-looking, even gave a pat on his shoulder.
Even though he was covered with filth from the sewer.
It was a dramatic change considering that he looked at Jackal like a bug when they first met.
“You’re a strange one. You pull off missions that seem impossible. What are you and what did you do before?”
Grace looked at him in awe as he wiped his hands with his handkerchief.
“…I was just lucky.”
A filthy smell came from Jackal’s body and clothes.
Captain Grace looked at Jackal with fondness and murmured.
“I think I am a lucky man to have acquired a useful man like you.”
He handed an envelope to Jackal.
“I did you a special favor. Check it.”
Jackal took the envelope and looked inside.
Jackal’s eyes beamed.
“That’s… a huge amount. Thank you, Captain!”
Jackal bowed to express his gratitude.
“Call me major from now on.”
Grace smiled in satisfaction and said as he looked at Jackal.
“I would like you to visit again soon. I’ll give you another job. You know what I mean, right?”
When he left Grace’s office, dawn was breaking from the east.
The U.S soldiers guarding the gate of the military police battalion noticed him, but nobody picked on him.
The guards at the gate just talked among themselves and made way when Jackal showed up.
Jackal thought as he fingered the bills in his pocket.
‘I think I’ll reach the 10,000 dollars if I keep going like this.’
It was the magical key in getting out of this forsaken land.
The key, which seemed impossible to obtain, started to look possible.
In front of Hans’ house.
Jackal knocked a few times, but there was no answer from inside.
“I guess Hans is not here.”
Hans’s sister Erika was probably in the house.
She will not open the door if it was someone she didn’t recognize. The neighborhood was too dangerous to open the door to strangers.
Jackal said in a loud voice so that Erika could hear him.
“Are you there? It’s me, Jackal.”
At that moment, the door opened and a drowsy-looking girl with brown hair tied sideways showed up.
Erika looked nothing like the bulky and fierce-looking Hans. If it wasn’t for the blue eyes and brown hair, it would have been impossible to guess that they were related.
Erika stared at the full bag that Jackal was holding with curiosity.
A part of a Vienna sausage was sticking out of the envelope full of things.
Jackal headed straight to the kitchen and pulled out the contents of the bag on the table.
“This is sausage, but I don’t know what it’s made of.”
“I love sausage.”
“Next is a can of eels that Hans likes. It’s a fresh one made in 1944.”
“I don’t like that.”
Erika made comments as Jackal pulled out the contents and explained what each of them were.
“Next is a can of beans which Hans likes too. It’s from Cornwall, you know where it is?”
“I don’t know. English food is not tasty.”
“Hans likes it.”
“He likes just about everything.”
Jackal pulled out the rest on the table.
Among the items, there were sweet crackers that Erika liked.
Whenever Jackal pulled out butter cookies or Hershey’s chocolate from the U.S bases, Erika cheered up with a big smile.
“Wow! Jackal, you’re the best!”
Jackal looked at Erika with a faint smile on his face.
‘I could not have imagined her smiling like this.’
It must have been about a half year ago that Jackal met the Grahams.
At that time, Erika was suffering from aphasia because of the war. Jackal clearly remembered Erika staring at him quietly with her big, drowsy-looking eyes full of fear.
Hans Graham was an armed runaway who fled from the army. When they first met, he was nothing but an injured beast.
Jackal had a change of heart as he saw Hans resisting as he was being beaten by the Soviet soldiers who were trying to take his sister.
It was probably the first time that Jackal, who had always fought for himself, pulled the trigger to save someone else.
“Jackal, try this. It’s delicious.”
Erika held out a piece of chocolate to Jackal, who was submerged in his own thoughts.
Jackal looked in surprise, but then tasted the piece of chocolate that Erika gave.
The sweet taste hung on his tongue.
“Is it good?”
Jackal smiled gently and nodded as Erika looked at him with her round eyes.
It was a flavor that he longed for.
It was strange, but Jackal felt that way even though he had never tasted chocolate in his hometown.
A familiar voice came from outside.
It was Hans.
“Hey, it’s my brother.”
Erika ran cheerfully to the porch with chocolate in her mouth.
“Hans, try this. Jackal brought it.”
Jackal could not see Hans’s face because of the wall between them, but he could feel the unusual unpleasantness in his voice.
‘Huh, is he still angry?’
Jackal thought he had to apologize more formally as he stood up.
Soon, Hans came into the kitchen.
“…What are you doing here?”
Hans’s face was expressionless as expected.
“I just got some things to eat.”
Hans rolled his eyes and saw the food on the table.
“What’s all this?”
“Obviously, it’s all for you guys to eat.”
“Did I ever ask you for all this?”
Something was strange. Normally, Hans would get over the anger soon and laugh merrily.
Jackal had an ominous feeling. He looked at Hans with a serious face.
“I am sorry about yesterday. Please forgive me”
“Erika, go to your room”
As Hans said threateningly, Erika just stood there blinking and went back to her room.
There was an awkward silence when the two were left in the room.
“Hey .. Jackal”
Hans opened his mouth first,
“I joined another gang.”
Upon hearing this, Jackal’s eyes shook wildly for an instant.
But Jackal didn’t show his feelings and asked boldly,
“..Really? Which one? Huiziga? Freiherr?”
“Ah, Huiziga… Not bad. The guy knows a lot of places where he can get money. He’s probably better than me at earning money.”
Jackal smiled bitterly and slowly left the kitchen.
As Jackal passed by, Hans said as he turned around to see Jackal.
“Don’t feel bad. Recently you’ve been.. somewhat dangerous. You’ve been doing only the most dangerous jobs.”
“It’s all calculated danger.”
“You can say that because you’re alone. But I’ve got a family to protect.”
Jackal kept on walking as if he didn’t hear those words.
As Jackal was passing the porch, Hans’s voice followed.
“Thank you for the food. But I hope you wouldn’t do this again. We are no longer…”
Hans’s last words were drowned out as Jackal shut the door with force.
Jackal expressionlessly stepped down the stairs.
Jackal’s house was just 2 floors below.
As always, he could hear the next-door alcoholic’s cries and the sob of the woman trying to stop him.
Normally, he would have just ignored it, but this time, he knocked strongly on the neighbor’s door.
After some banging noise, the door opened.
“What’s this? An Asian?”
It was the first time that Jackal actually saw the alcoholic, although he had heard his voice every day.
It was a middle-aged man with a fat stomach and a mustache like that of Hitler’s.
“I live next door. I cannot stand the noise.”
“What? You inferior Asian!”
Even before the man’s face showed anger, Jackal grabbed him by the collar and held him up.
“I said be quiet!”
The man’s feet squirmed in the air and his face turned red.
“I will give you a final warning. Be quiet, if you don’t want to disappear without anyone being aware of it.”
Jackal threw him to the floor and stared at him with threatening eyes.
The alcoholic could not look at Jackal straight in the face.
As he returned to his home, the familiar darkness and silence greeted him.
Like always, Jackal opened the safe and checked the contents again and again.
After the tedious job was done, he took out a bottle of alcohol and poured it into his mouth.
The strong liquor of over 40% alcohol went into his throat relentlessly.
Jackal felt a strong thirst, but he did not move as he sat leaning on the safe.
A burning feeling came from his stomach.
It was a wild feeling that seemed to tear his stomach apart.
“… Oh right, I had this.”
There was a faint smile on Jackal’s expressionless face.
“I’m not feeling so cheerful today. Shall I go to that woman’s place?”
He pulled out a pocket watch from his chest pocket.
The room was dark, but Jackal’s eyes could easily read the time.
“Midnight. A very awkward time.”
He no longer had fear of night in Berlin, but he felt that it was disrespectful to take a sudden visit without any particular reason.
She was, after all, a very young woman although she was actually a fierce monster inside.
An idea just came across him.
“Should I train alone?”
But Marie-Louise’s warning sounded in his head.
“Whatever you do, never practice Wugong when I am not present. Wugong is like the sea. It can make you float, but it can drown you too.”
Marie-Louise always says good things.
She never hurts Jackal’s feelings with her words, which are as soft as silk and sweet as honey.
It was unprecedented for her to give such a firm warning.
There must be a clear reason.
Jackal was aware of it too.
However, without knowing why, Jackal had a desire to break Marie-Louise’s taboo.
It was a daring act unlike Jackal, who was always calm and meticulous.
It was hard to tell whether this sudden change was due to the loss of friends he considered family, or due to the effect of the strong alcohol.
“I know what I am doing.”
Maybe it was just confidence.
If one has survived years of brutal war, he has the right to believe in somebody.
Whether it was god, or himself.
Jackal believes only in himself.
Jackal inhaled deeply and standing on his hands, he started Inner force circulation as Marie-Louise taught him.
His engine room was already full of heat.
The expanding energy circulated from bottom up then top down.
His legs shook. Perhaps he was too used to Marie helping him with his position.
It was different from what he had been doing.
The energy felt like it was going into another vein instead of the route it normally passed.
The strange feeling was enough to alert Jackal.
‘I should have listened to the woman!’
With a short regret, he started taking back the energy that started flowing in his body.
But the energy, once spread, was like ink smeared on paper.
It was impossible to absorb the energy back to the engine room.
Drip, drip, drip.
Sweat trickled off his forehead and dropped on the floor.
His breath roughened.
“Damn. If I don’t do something..!”
His body refused to listen to him.
The energy that started circulating throughout his body sped up and blew wildly like a storm. The heat in his engine room increased.
It was becoming dangerous.
Jackal felt the danger and broke his upside-down position.
Did his volition work?
As his position broke, he fell on the floor.
As his relaxed his position, the energy circulating in his body disappeared.
Jackal tried moving his arms.
Fortunately, his body followed his command once again.
Jackal stood up as he wiped the sweat on his forehead.
“It could have been dangerous. Huh..?”
Suddenly, nausea from underneath hit Jackal’s stomach like a storm.
He shriveled and rolled up like a shrimp and soon threw something up.
Midst the horrible pain and helplessness, Jackal took the lamp to see what he threw up.
Blood. A black clot of blood.
As soon as he saw it, he started to feel dizzy and his sight became blurry.
He immediately went to a mirror and looked at his face.
His face was pale-white like a corpse.
His body shook from the wind blowing from the window.
‘Damn.. How can this be…”
There was no way to find the answer even if he thought about it.
There was just one way.
Jackal took his equipment as he staggered.
Pistol, submachine gun, grenade, knife.
With the old friends that will keep him alive, Jackal got out of the house.
“Hey, who’s this? It’s Jackal!”
There were strangers outside the house.
Jackal found a familiar face amongst the strangers.
Hans looked away as Jackal stared at him.
Instead, a man walked toward Jackal in an arrogant fashion.
Jackal knew the man.
Huiziga. He was the leader of the biggest gang of hyenas in Berlin. He had connection with the Soviets, and rumors claimed that he was doing all sorts of dirty work for the Soviets.
“What do you want?”
Jackal should not let them look down on him.
His body was in the worst condition, but Jackal asked calmly. But his legs shook and he felt a strong wave of nausea.
“Nothing important. I just heard something interesting.”
“I’m busy at the moment. I have an appointment.”
“An appointment? What appointment? The night is long enough.”
“It seems that Captain Grace wants to see me.”
“I work for him.”
It was a lie, but the effect was certain.
Huiziga’s smile just disappeared.
He seemed to know Captain Grace’s name, which meant that he knew the secret behind him.
Captain Grace manages all secret operations in Berlin on behalf of the U.S. It empowered him with authority that surpassed his rank.
“That’s interesting. OK.”
But Huiziga’s smile showed up again. He glimpsed at Hans and stared at Jackal.
“The Devil of Cherbourg is working for the U.S, huh?”
As Huiziga raised his hand, more than ten men showed up from the darkness.
Only then did Jackal figure out what had happened.
‘So that’s what happened.’
Taking a glance at Hans, who was standing in the distance with a bitter look on his face, Jackal stuck his hand into his army coat.
‘Hands up, Jackal! If you don’t want to get riddled with bullets.”
The pistol in Huiziga’s hand was aiming at him.
Jackal, with a faint smile, slowly pulled his hands out of the jacket
“Can I say my last words?”
“Whatever you want.”
At that moment, his eyes caught something shining.
The shiny object dropped on the floor from Jackal’s overcoat.
After the object stopped spinning, Huiziga could identify what it was.
2 short pins made of metal.
Huiziga knew what it meant, and Jackal’s words that followed made it certain.
“I just pulled out the safety pin.”
“Lie down! Right now!”
With a cry, Jackal’s hands stretched toward the sky.
Two stick grenades caught everyone’s attention as it flew under the moon partly covered by clouds.
There was a monster crawling on the floor with a strange groan.
The monster was crawling with his two hands as if could not use his legs. His body was all covered in blood and he was throwing up blood.”
Leaving a trail of blood on the empty streets,
He arrived at a dead end.
There was a hatch covered by all kinds of stuff.
The man opened the hatch and dropped inside.
He fell into the darkness with the sound of something breaking.
With a moan, he stared at the light coming from the other side.
A little girl appeared from the light.
It was a blond girl with crutches.
She stared coldly at the injured man.
“You look real bad, Jackal.”
She raised her crutch and turned Jackal’s body over.
With a moan, Jackal’s body turned and his bloody face appeared.
“Who’s chasing you? Are they the Wulins?”
Jackal shook his head even as he was losing consciousness.
He thought everything would come to an end if he could not answer the question.
Marie-Louise observed the situation outside as she concentrated on the sounds.
She heard men running and shouting.
“It must not be the Wulins.”
After a short whisper, she turned her eyes to Jackal once again. She approached him and observed his wounds.
“You have an Inner force deviation and you have a serious wound. You’re lucky to be alive, Jackal”
But it did not last long.
Something beamed in Marie-Louise eyes while she was she observing Jackal.
“Wait, this is…”
The inner energy that came from Jackal’s veins was considerable. Because Jackal trained Wugong in an expedient manner by himself, the purity of his inner force was compromised, but the absolute quantity of the inner force that was supplied at a time was enough to surprise Marie.
She smiled playfully at Jackal’s bleeding face.
“You are a lucky man, Jackal. The reverse flow of the inner force deviation served to expand the energy blood veins. You just accomplished many years’ of achievement at one time.”
But the shadow of death already started to appear on Jackal’s face.
It didn’t matter if one accomplished a year’s achievement or several decades’ of achievement. It was all over when you died.
Marie-Louise put her hand off Jackal and stood up with her crutch.
“Anyway, it’s unlikely that you will survive.”
A man’s cry was heard from not far away.
It’s probably a man pursuing Jackal.
“Now, what shall I do?”
Marie-Louise’s eyes clouded with darkness.
It’s been awhile since Berlin was bustling with energy.
The 7-year-long war had finally come to an end.
The chapel bells rang out, and the diffident people came out to celebrate the end of the war.
The soldiers just let the people of the defeated nation enjoy their happiness for the day.
Meanwhile, there was a group of people banging their heads together to figure out how to rebuild the world after the war.
There was a standoff between the Soviets’ Communist camp and the Americans’ Free World.
Berlin was becoming the center of that expected battle.
“What happened to that Asian?”
America’s most trusted and shining lance of freedom.
Major Grace recently started looking for a man.
“We have so much to do!”
The Asian was called Jackal.
The person who brought information on Jackal’s whereabouts was a local informant called Freiherr.
“I heard that he was killed by the Huiziga’s group.”
“What? The Huiziga’s group? He’s just a hunting dog working for the NKVD. Why were they going after Jackal?”
“I don’t know the specifics. But there’s a strange rumor going around.”
“That Jackal is the Devil of Cherbourg.”
Hearing this, Major Grace snorted.
“You have got to be kidding me. Why would the Devil of Cherbourg be doing things like that? Stop talking nonsense and find out where Jackal is. The least you could do is bring his black hair to me, if he’s dead.”
After Freiherr left, Major Grace put a cigarette in his mouth and took a deeply breathed in, hard enough for both his cheeks to hollow out.
With a deep sigh, smoke flew out of his nostrils.
“The Devil of Cherbourg….”
Major Grace had also heard rumors of the Devil of Cherbourg.
A man who had used multiple counts of sabotage to go through the city like a ghost and paralyze all the ports of Cherbourg, a city controlled by the Allied Forces.
All of the important plans and strategies in the city had crumbled because of one man.
The Allied Forces, especially the Americans, had been chasing after the Devil of Cherbourg, because his abilities would be very useful.
But things had changed now that the war was over.
Now, there was no point in finding him other than to put a defeated troop on trial.
‘If I could have him working for me, what would it be like to be able to control him?’
Major Grace remembered the story of the golden goose that he had read to his son back home.
But the local informant had brought bad news.
Jackal had died at the hands of a bunch of hyenas.
Though it was something that happened often, he couldn’t believe that the Devil of Cherbourg could die in such a way.
“For him to die here like this… makes him nothing but a normal human being.”
Watching the smoke disperse in the air, Major Grace threw the remnants of his cigarette butt on the floor and stomped it out with his boots.
An unexpected shadow loomed over his boots.
‘It’s that guy again.’
A man he couldn’t figure out.
James McCauley was standing in front of Major Grace.
“I’m here because I need to ask for a favor.”
His voice was calm and sincere as always.
“Yes, it’s about the blond girl you were talking about before, right? My informants are looking for her. My informants are searching all of the cathouses. They’ll find something.”
Major Grace was not fond of this mysterious man.
Seeing him hanging around the superior officers showed Major Grace that he wasn’t just a normal person. Grace had the ability to know if a person would be of use to him or not.
And to him, the man called James was a person who would be of no use.
“That’s not what I’m here about.”
Major Grace’s face momentarily twitched in displeasure.
“I’ve already told your superior officers, but there’s about to be a small disturbance in the Soviet territories. I’m here to ask you to look the other way when it happens.”
Hearing this, Major Grace’s eyes widened as he asked.
“What? Am I hearing correctly?”
It could happen. A disturbance in none other than Soviet territory? If something went wrong, it could be the start of a second, no, a third war.
James McCauley’s reply was so bland that it surprised him.
“We’re going to start a local war.”
He had a practical smile on his face.
That night, the Soviet troops witnessed a curious sight.
They saw unidentifiable black shadows, illuminated by the dim light of the moon, jumping between buildings and moving quickly.
Taking part in a new group meant taking on the task of getting used to new rules. That wasn’t an easy thing to do.
There would always be people who wouldn’t like him for no reason or those who would see him as encroaching on their territory.
Hans was having a hard time getting used to the new group. The Huiziga group was a large one with over 100 hyenas.
As they were mostly loners, no one was really welcoming new members, and just put them on the bottom of the food chain.
Especially, if those members came with a history.
“Hubert was a great guy. But he was killed by Jackal.”
“I agree. He was dealt a meaningless death.”
The people spoke, knowing Hans could hear them.
But they had a reason for doing so.
Hans was allowed to join the Huiziga group, only if he brought the Devil of Cherbourg. They had planned to hand the Devil over to the Americans, and divide the profits.
But he wasn’t able to catch the Devil of Cherbourg, and had even resulted in someone’s death. Hans, the informant, had returned without a single scratch on his body.
There was nothing weird about everyone being angry.
“But, is Jackal really the Devil of Cherbourg?”
“That’s what I want to know. Wasn’t he digging through trash dumps with the cowardly wrestler that even we wouldn’t touch? How could he be the Devil of Cherbourg?”
The cowardly wrestler was the nickname that the Huiziga group had given Hans.
Hans, who had been in the corner nursing a drink, felt himself slowly reaching the limit of his patience.
“What do you know? Jackal is definitely the Devil of Cherbourg. I saw it with my own eyes.”
He stood up and shouted, which temporarily startled those around him before putting smirks on their faces.
“Where’s the proof?”
One man stood up and spoke.
“Give us your proof. Evidence.”
“He broke through the siege by himself and entered that bunker, didn’t he?”
“But he was close to dying by the time he got in. He’s a dead man if there are people waiting for him to come back out. Is that the limit of the famous Devil of Cherbourg?”
The man’s words had the others laughing.
Hans could feel a fire burning inside him.
‘These damn guys are really testing me.’
He gulped down some vodka straight from the bottle and got up from his seat.
“Jackal is amazing. There’s nothing he can’t do alone. He’s great with weapons and is smart. A man I recently met recognized Jackal. He called Jackal the Devil of Cherbourg. If that’s not proof enough, then what is?”
“What? I thought you were going to give us some concrete details but all you’ve got are stories based on speculations? And who is that man? Bring him here so we can hear it for ourselves.”
The man who was standing up spoke and those around him began laughing.
Hans was not great with words and had not been very educated.
He knew that he wouldn’t be able to win in a battle of words. But his pride made him feel like he should say something, so Hans kept thinking till he remembered something.
‘Yes, they’ll believe me if I say this.’
Hans smiled and turned to the men who were glaring at him before he spoke.
“Do any of you know Andrei Popov?”
As soon as that name was said out loud, a few of the men nodded.
“Andrei Popov? Of course. He’s that bear-like Russian.”
“I know him well. He’s quite an interesting guy.”
“Yeah. There’s no one here who doesn’t know him. I heard he was hospitalized.”
It had the intended effect.
Hans Graham looked at them and spoke in a low voice.
“It was Jackal. The one who beat Andrei Popov to a pulp.”
“I couldn’t believe it, even though I saw it with my own eyes.”
Hans Graham could feel the gazes directed his way were slowly changing, and he began talking about the things he had seen.
“So, let me ask you. Could Jackal have done that if he wasn’t the Devil of Cherbourg?”
His story found its way to Huiziga’s ears.
“What? That’s what Hans Graham said?”
“Good. Considering how much damage we’ve incurred because of that coward.”
He immediately sent the information to the NKVD officer he knew well.
The NKVD enforcers arrived at Hans’ house late that night. When no one answered at their knocks, they broke the lock and entered. Discovering Erika alone, they asked for the whereabouts of Hans.
“Where is Hans Graham?”
“He’s.. probably at Jackal’s house.”
Erika’s face was frozen with fear and she didn’t know what to do.
The NKVD enforcers went down the stairs and forced themselves into Jackal’s home.
Hans was drunk and going through Jackal’s belongings.
“Damn it. Where is it? The money he hid!”
The NKVD enforcers beat Hans, who hadn’t found anything, to the brink of death and dragged him down the mansion stairs.
Erika was hiding in a corner, eyes wide with fear as she took in the sight.
“Jackal… Where is Jackal?”
The door of the house she’d lived in was broken.
The safe world she’d known had suddenly become full of danger.
“Hey, lady. Need some help?”
The strange man smiled and approached Erika amidst the chaos.
Erika quickly ran away from him and entered Jackal’s home, locking the door behind her.
“Hey, lady. That’s the Asian’s house. Going in there without asking isn’t wise.”
Hearing a banging on the door, Erika hid herself in a corner and prayed.
‘Jackal.. where are you? Please come back soon.’
lang! Clang! Clang!
The sound of the hatch being banged on from the outside rang out.
But they could not open it.
This is because hatches were constructed so that they are unable to be opened from the outside.
Though the story would be different if they had explosives with them, most Soviets did not carry enough to create an explosion big enough.
That meant that hatches were able to shield those inside from most dangers.
Marie-Louise was staring at Jackal, who was lying on the floor, with cold eyes.
“Now, let’s start the surgery.”
Marie-Louise spoke with a kind voice, despite the fact that Jackal probably couldn’t hear her, and placed both her hands on the lower half of Jackal’s stomach.
While breathing out, she moved the inner force she had saved up into Jackal’s engine room.
Small whimpers escaped Jackal’s lips.
Barely conscious, Jackal experienced something he’d never felt before slowly flowing into his body.
It felt like standing inside a large waterfall that was pumping water on him.
That energy started in Jackal’s engine room, and helped heal the damages littering his body that he had incurred.
It was like wiping away the residue clogging a pipe in one go.
As the inner force healed his body, Jackal began coughing and dark blood dripped from his mouth.
Marie-Louise helped Jackal sit up before she stood behind him, carefully maneuvering her foot that had a splint on it to support Jackal’s spine while placing both hands on Jackal’s muscular chest.
“This is probably going to hurt.”
As soon as she finished speaking, she pushed up against Jackal’s spine with her knee while pressing down on Jackal’s chest with her hands, with enough force to almost break bones.
The pain that came from both sides had Jackal open his eyes, but his pupils were not focused, like the pupils of a dead fish.
It wasn’t that he’d regained his consciousness; his eyelids had opened reflexively because of the pain.
Marie-Louise applied force a second time.
Whenever she applied any force, Jackal’s body curved like a tightly strung bow.
The third time she pressed down, Jackal coughed up a black clot of blood.
Looking at the size of what Jackal had coughed up, which now stank of iron and blood, Marie-Louise pressed down once more. Almost like she was squeezing a rag dry.
All that was left was blackened and watery blood.
Marie-Louise stopped putting force on Jackal and checked his pulse.
Jackal’s pulse was weak but beating regularly.
It was only then that Marie-Louise began to smile.
“You have a strong will to survive, Jackal.”
They had at least dealt with their biggest fire.
She had gotten him to cough up the blood congestion and had calmed his inner energy.
Now, there was nothing left to do but let Jackal carefully heal the wounds he forged while overextending himself.
All that was left were Jackal’s external injuries.
Jackal had shrapnel stuck in his back, waist and legs, as well as a bullet wound in his right leg.
Looking at his wounds, Marie-Louise couldn’t help but laugh.
“You’re a very lucky person. It’s a miracle that the bullet missed all of your important arteries and pressure points.”
It was unbelievable how lucky he was.
It was almost like God had been on his side.
Marie-Louise pressed an acupuncture point on Jackal’s legs to numb his senses, and used a knife she had disinfected with hot water to dig out the fragments, closing the wounds with a needle and thread.
The surgery lasted a long time.
Once she had dealt with all the injuries, Marie-Louise was worn out, but she merely sat at the edge of the bed and sighed.
Jackal was still unconscious and on the floor.
But he was looking less pale and his breathing had gotten easier.
Though he wasn’t back to perfect health, Jackal had healed a fair amount.
Taking a short break, Marie-Louise stood in front of Jackal and glared down at him.
The sounds of banging on the hatch still rang throughout the room.
“Come out! Jackal! Before we blow the place up!”
Someone began shouting.
Amidst the noise, Marie-Louise’s soft voice rang out.
“Nothing in life is free, Jackal.”
Her small and pale hand lightly touched Jackal’s muscular chest.
Slightly left from his solar plexus.
The place where his weakly beating heart was.
Marie-Louise had a faint smile on her face while she collected her strength and had it flow into Jackal’s heart through her hand.
Subconsciously, Jackal began hallucinating.
He saw a tiger, so big and grand he could never win against it, pressing down on him with its giant paw.
When he opened his eyes, the light from the incandescent lamp blinded his eyes.
Jackal got up from his spot and looked around.
When he sat up, he could feel pain ringing out in the lower half of his body.
A small whimper escaped his lips.
“Are you awake now?”
From across the hallway, Marie-Louise approached him.
She was supporting her body with a single crutch. The bandages on her right leg were loosened.
Jackal looked at the ceiling and grumbled.
“It looks like I was able to survive somehow?”
“You almost died. But I revived you.”
Jackal turned his head to Marie-Louise before showing his gratitude.
“I owe you one.”
“No problem. All I did was repay a debt. But how did you end up like this?”
At Marie’s question, Jackal’s eyes darkened.
“….I was betrayed. By a man I had gone around with. He tried to sell me off.”
Jackal frowned and closed his eyes. His hands were curled into fists.
“Wow, that’s surprising.”
Jackal opened his eyes and glared at Marie-Louise.
“I never knew someone like you could be betrayed. Aren’t you someone with a lot of distrust and someone who doesn’t believe others easily?”
Jackal glared at Marie for a while before sighing.
“…Even I can’t explain why I became friends with him. It might be that I thought of him as family. It was the first time that someone treated me normally despite me being an Asian.”
“Now what are you going to do? Are you going to seek revenge?”
Marie-Louise spoke, almost egging him on.
Jackal didn’t reply for a while. Staring into space, Jackal bit his lips and became lost in thought.
It was a while before he answered, and his answer was unexpected.
“No, I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to let it go.”
“He has a younger sister. She followed me well. If I kill him, that girl will be doomed to a hell-like fate. That’s not the revenge I want.”
“Wow, you’re so warm hearted, Jackal. I didn’t know you were that kind of person.”
Marie-Louise almost sounded petulant as she spoke.
Her lips were curved in a smirk, as was the rest of her face.
“But if he ever crosses my path, I’m going to beat him. Just to the brink of death.”
The sound of a hatch being hit could be heard from close by.
“You don’t have to worry about that. It’s the people who are chasing you.”
“The Huiziga clan.”
Jackal’s eyes filled with bloodlust. Seeing this, Marie-Louise’s eyes filled with surprise.
‘Wow, is this the kind of person he is?’
Jackal looked around him and asked.
“Where are my weapons?”
“You’re going to fight them, even when you don’t know how many people there are outside? I have to disagree.”
“I’m not trying to fight them; I’m just trying to assess the situation. To see how much we have.”
Hearing this, Marie-Louise pointed at a corner of the room with a finger. There was a blanket on the ground with Jackal’s weapons laid on top of it.
Jackal stared at it before scratching his head.
“We have no grenades.
Saying this, Jackal remembered that he had used up all of his grenades while running away from the Huiziga people and laughed.
“We’re also low on food.”
Marie spoke up as she watched Jackal.
“Food? How much do we have left?”
“If we stretch it, maybe three days’ worth.”
Jackal looked at his injuries.
They probably wouldn’t heal in three days.
He also felt like he had no energy, probably because he had bled too much. If he didn’t eat and replenish his body with nutrients, his body’s immune system would weaken and he might fall ill.
If that happened, he might starve to death or get killed without a fight.
“Let’s attack them in two days.”
“In two days?”
“We should take one day to rest, eating well and replenishing out energy, before choosing when we’ll fight.”
Though his tone was light, he knew it would be a difficult one.
With their only exit blocked by their enemies, not even Jackal would be able to do anything if their enemies decided to set up even a single machine gun at the exit.
But their enemies didn’t have a machine gun. They were basically a group of thugs holding fire extinguishers.
“That’s not enough time, Jackal. We should strike in three days.”
Marie-Louise was staring at her nails. Her nails were long and well-kept, like the nails of any other girl.
Jackal glanced at Marie-Louise’s nails as he spoke.
“Why three days? There’s not much difference between waiting two days from three. Our opponents aren’t that strong. They don’t have proper training and even if they did, they would be like rookies. They’re basically like the Italians.”
It was then that an unexpected sound filled the room.
The sound had come from Jackal’s stomach.
Jackal, who had been talking seriously, burst out into laughter and Marie covered her smile with both hands.
“Look. Don’t you think we should eat first?”
Jackal blushed and said nothing.
Marie-Louise glanced at Jackal before getting up from her seat.
She soon returned with a can of food and biscuits wrapped in paper.
The can was full of English baked beans while the source of the biscuits was unknown.
Marie-Louise poured a decent amount of baked beans onto a plate and placed the biscuits next to the pile, handing the whole plate to Jackal.
“To be honest, I don’t like British food.”
Despite his words, Jackal gulped down the food in an instant.
Marie-Louise narrowed her eyes and stared at Jackal.
“Your actions don’t match your words.”
“I can’t help it. I’m so hungry.”
“Why don’t you like British food? Have you ever had it?”
“I once followed my father to Great Britain when I was young. I lived there for about three years.”
“Wow, I didn’t know that about you. Why were you there?”
Jackal put down his spoon and stared into space. His eyes filled with the memories of his past.
Jackal stopped talking and started looking for water. Marie handed him a water bottle and Jackal took a few gulps before speaking.
“He was a freedom fighter. But people hated my father because he was the son of a pro-Japanese man.”
That was all Jackal was willing to say. It didn’t look like he wanted to add anything.
“He was a great man.”
Marie-Louise always knew what to say.
Knowing this, Jackal smirked and kept eating the rest of his food. Marie-Louise stared at Jackal as he ate, not blinking as she did so.
“I have a plan.”
Marie-Louise began speaking once Jackal cleared his plate.
“Plan? What plan?”
When Jackal asked, Marie-Louise replied with her typical soft voice.
“My plan is to increase our strength. For the next three days, you should learn Wugong.”
“…. Increase my strength?”
It was an offer Jackal hadn’t thought of.
After collecting his thoughts, Jackal turned serious as he spoke.
“Three days? I don’t think anything will change in just three days.”
At Jackal’s distrustful question, Marie smiled and replied.
“I’ll explain it in a way that’s easy for you to understand. Jackal, last night, you overexerted yourself. Because of that, your inner engine broke and fuel leaked out.”
“I think I leaked a lot of my fuel.”
Jackal smiled bitterly and nodded.
“It was hard wiping it all off.”
Marie-Louise smiled at him before continuing her explanation.
“But luckily, we were able to fix you. But only because you met the talented repairman called Marie-Louise Lane. The strengths you had before the fix have become stronger, while you’ve also become more stable. You could see it as being upgraded to a whole different vehicle.”
“Hm, so if we keep up with the armored vehicle metaphor, what kind of tank was I before?”
At Jackal’s question, Marie-Louise replied with blinking an eye.
“A first generation tank.”
“….First.. First generation tank?”
Jackal asked with a glum expression.
He couldn’t help it.
First generation tanks had been made even before the war, and were so poorly made that they didn’t deserve to be called tanks.
Jackal had never even seen a first generation tank in person. He had seen the weak and feeble second generation tanks and extrapolated what the first generation tanks would look like.
“Yes, you were a first generation tank, Jackal. A rookie and a poser.”
“… What.. What level am I at now?”
Jackal asked carefully, trying to hide his anger. Marie gave him a flat reply.
“A second generation tank?”
“What? You said I got better, and that’s it?”
“Don’t rush into this. As long as you follow my directions, you’ll be able to become a Tiger tank, the vehicle you like so much.”
Saying this, Marie-Louise put away the utensils and used her crutch to stand up.
“Now, let’s begin since we don’t have much time left.”
When he first started his engine room, he couldn’t feel a difference. As always, it felt like a slowly turning whirlpool.
But in an instant, the whirlpool became the eye of the storm, and the energy running through his body suddenly ramped up.
Jackal’s eyes filled with fear.
He had felt this feeling before, when he had the Uncontrolled inner force.
“Don’t freak out. Believe in yourself, and use your inner energy. I’ve got you.”
But this time, Marie-Louise was standing next to him.
The mysterious girl who knew so much about Wugong was looking after him.
Jackal trusted Marie-Louise and put down his fear, starting his engine room once more.
Vroom! Vroom! Vroom!
It was almost like he could hear the sounds of a powerful engine, big enough to sit in a tank.
A strong energy flowed through his body, something he’d never felt before.
‘It’s different from before. It feels refreshing and free.’
“Focus on the circulation.”
Almost as if she knew he was drifting, Marie-Louise made him refocus.
She wasn’t even going to give him a moment to think.
Jackal cleared his head and focused everything on what he was doing.
The inner energy driving out from his engine room circulated throughout his body multiple times.
Beads of sweat fell from his forehead, and steam like air formed and evaporated into the air.
Marie-Louise crossed her arms and stared at Jackal as he did a handstand. She would place her hands on his back and stomach, blowing her inner energy into him.
When his body overheated, she would blow cold energy into him to cool him down.
Thanks to her work, Jackal was able to truly let his engine room run and got so lost that he even forgot who he was and what he was doing.
Marie-Louise was now standing in front of Jackal. Her bandaged leg and a leg with stockings on, which looked like they belonged to two different people, were now standing in front of him.
Jackal stared at the leg Marie didn’t have a cast on. Her thigh looked quite thin but had some meat on it.
‘It’s a pretty leg.’
Though he hadn’t shown much interest in women in the past, Jackal knew how to appreciate a woman’s figure.
“Stop staring at someone’s leg like a pervert, and loosen yourself from that position.”
Hearing that, Jackal realized what he was doing and quickly moved out of his handstand.
It was only for a moment, but his body felt completely different. Aside from the pain he felt from the injuries on his back and leg, he was surprised that his bones and veins felt like they were gliding.
“Now, do you feel the changes in your body?”
Marie-Louise spoke softly as she handed him a water bottle.
Her eyes were locked on the spot where Jackal had been holding his handstand.
Looking back, Jackal was surprised.
A significantly sized puddle of sweat and a bit of blood had formed.
But his body felt dry.
It was quite spooky.
“How did this happen?”
“A trance. It would take all night to explain the specifics. To put it simply, you’ve become much stronger than before.”
Saying this, Marie-Louise began taking off the bandages on her right leg.
Jackal asked her in surprise.
“What? Are you completely healed?”
Unlike the other, the right leg was greatly discolored.
“Hey, it looks like it hasn’t healed at all?”
“The bone has healed.”
“But why did you take off your bandages?”
Marie-Louise put down the crutch that had been propping her up.
“So I can teach you a new form of Wugong.”
“A new form of Wugong?”
“Yes, the art of lightweight movement. It seems to be the form of Wugong you need most.”
Marie-Louise smiled and replied.
“It will help you move as fast as a tornado.”
A memory flashed across Jackal’s mind. The image of Wulin people catching up to him in an instant, before he had learned Wugong.
‘Is that what she’s going to teach me?’
With that kind of power, would there be anything for him to fear? Jackal felt his chest fill with an unknown emotion and glared at Marie-Louise.
“I’m going to show you just once, so watch closely.”
With one beautiful leg and one grotesque leg, the girl began moving with grace.
Jackal’s two eyes were wide open and not blinking, trying not to miss anything.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
Though the sound of metal still rang out, those responsible would soon know, what their meaningless actions would result in.
“Are you ready?”
Rifle, submachine gun, knife. Explosives.
All of his weapons were in top-condition.
His body was fine.
Energy like he’d never felt before flowed from his engine room.
“Wait here. I’ll return with some delicious food.”
Putting on an American soldier’s jacket, Jackal stepped forward.
What lay in front of him was a dark hallway and a ladder. Higher up was the hatch and the enemies who was waiting above it.
Marie-Louise amusingly watched Jackal disappear down the hallway.
‘The current time is 5 o’clock, on the dot.’
They say it’s darkest before the dawn.
The outside world would be so dark it’d be difficult to see.
The hatch keepers would be falling asleep at this time.
It may have been because it was too early to be called early morning and too late to be called evening.
Jackal leaned on the ladder that led up to the hatch and took a moment to get a feel on his surroundings.
It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. No one was banging on the hatch. There were no sounds.
It may have been that the men had been worn out, not knowing when they’d have to be called into action.
‘It’ll end quickly.’
Jackal quietly crawled up the steps and held onto the tightly shut hatch with both hands.
‘Two and a half turns.’
It was how many times he’d have to turn to open it.
Putting all of the inner power from his engine room into his hands, he turned the handle.
An ear splitting sound rang out in the darkness.
“What was that just now?”
“Did you hear that?”
He could hear voices from a close distance.
There were two voice.
‘From the northeast. 15 meters away.’
Jackal’s two eyes shone in the darkness.
The lock was opened.
Jackal took out his gun with one hand and opened the hatch with the other.
Fire spurted from Jackal’s rifle.
The dying groans were followed by two men falling to the floor.
It had all happened even before the hatch was completely open.
Having taken down them in an instant, Jackal jumped out of the hatch and hid himself along the crumbling wall.
He couldn’t hear anything besides the groans.
The fact that there wasn’t any movements reacting to the gunshot meant that those men were the only two there.
If they were on a battlefield, one or two veterans may have hidden and sought revenge, but the Huiziga clan was a group of thugs who thought of nothing but profit. They wouldn’t do such a thing.
Most of all, Jackal had seen the extent of the Huiziga clan’s disorder and inexperience with his own two eyes.
He trusted his own judgment.
Jackal moved away from the darkness.
But all the cells in his body were on high alert.
He walked like a ghost towards the groaning men.
Jackal kicked one of the dying men and spoke brusquely.
Unfocused eyes stared at Jackal.
He looked like he was trying to say something, but couldn’t seem to make the words appear. Jackal crouched next to him and stared at the wounds.
“Do you want to live? Looking at your wounds, it looks like you might live if you can get to a hospital.”
It was a lie. The bullet had ripped through the man’s intestines. The abdominal cavity was already filling with blood from his exploded intestines, and he would soon go into shock.
He had no chance of survival.
But telling him that he could potentially survive had hope flare up in the man’s eyes.
He put all his strength into nodding.
“It’s just the two of you here?”
The man briefly hesitated at Jackal’s question, but he eventually nodded.
Jackal’s lips curled in a cruel smile.
“You will be welcomed in heaven.”
He brushed off his clothes and stood up, whistling as he walked forward.
The fallen man tried with all his might to reach for Jackal’s departing figure, but Jackal did not turn around.
The man’s eyes slowly lost focus, and his reaching hand fell lifelessly on the floor.
Just another death.
For some, it was a tragedy, but to Jackal, it was just another part of his day.
That was what the battlefield did to you.
Jackal put the man’s death behind him and focused on his situation.
‘First, I should move all of our things into the bunker. Berlin is no longer safe.’
If the Huiziga clan knew who he was, everyone in Berlin would know in no time.
Those rumors would reach the American troops’ ears. That meant his greatest customers would become his greatest enemies.
Jackal remembered Major Grace’s shining bald head. He felt a sense of bitterness.
‘It’s too bad but it can’t be helped. The most important thing right now is to survive.’
Countless thoughts appeared and disappeared in his head.
Would he have to leave Berlin?
Where would he go and what would he do?
With the thoughts piling on each other, he suddenly felt chills down his spine.
It felt like someone was watching him.
Jackal was good at picking up on that unpleasant feeling.
‘Could it be.. this feeling..?’
Jackal turned his head towards the source of his unpleasantness.
Three figures stood on the roof of a building, lit by the slowly brightening sky.
’60 meters away, three people, no weapons. But…’
Jackal bit his lip.
‘They were.. Wulin people…!’
Monsters with mysterious powers that had once chased Jackal, and were now looking for Marie-Louise.
They were like a giant wall to Jackal, with strengths beyond what Jackal could handle.
‘They’re different from the others.’
Jackal’s good eyesight did wonders for him in the dark.
Jackal was able to figure out his opponents by small differences in their stature, posture and clothes.
A skill that was necessary for snipers.
But though they seemed to be from a different clan, they were still Wulin people.
The people Jackal needed to avoid were now staring directly at him.
‘As I thought.. did they come chasing after me from the sounds I made?’
They were probably chasing after the sounds of his gunshots. Gunshots ringing out in the dark were capable of drawing anyone’s attention.
Jackal turned his head and kept walking forward, as if he hadn’t spotted the figures.
Even before he had taken a few steps, he noticed that the Wulin people had moved. The men who had stood on top of the building had now come down.
They were headed straight for Jackal. Almost in a straight line.
‘Like they say, out of the frying pan and into the fire.’
He had no time to think. He had to just run with it.
Jackal concentrated his thoughts on one thing.
A map outlining all of Berlin.
Jackal used that map as a basis to guess his current location and direction.
And using all of the information he had collected, Jackal began making some calculations.
It was on where he would be able to lose his pursuers.
It was difficult. His regular methods wouldn’t work because his opponents were Wulin people.
A single thought passed through Jackal’s mind.
He took out his pocket watch to check the time.
5:40 in the morning. Light was coming from the eastern sky.
‘The sky’s on my side.’
Jackal began to smile.
He soon decided where he would head next.
His destination was a market, not far from where he was.
It was a place where people frequently sold various items from home when it got difficult to find food, after the Berlin economy had collapsed.
That place would be busy with people this early in the morning.
Having that many people in the area would mean there would be more eyes watching.
If the Wulin people wished to cause harm to Jackal, they wouldn’t be able to do it in front of others.
The Wulin people tended to mask their presence from the general public, because they would have greater control over a situation if they kept their powers a secret.
Past an empty road there were a group of people huddled around a fire kindled in a drum. They were exiled people.
Followed by hostile gazes from the group, Jackal turned a corner and came across people who were setting out items they had brought in baskets. Laying them out on the wooden boards.
He had reached the market. Jackal slowly began picking up his pace.
“Shall we begin?”
Jackal’s pace looked relaxed at first. Almost as if he was on a stroll.
But the reality was quite different. Every step he took, he glided forward like his body was a boat with oars.
Divine speed hidden in normalcy.
It was such a strange way of moving quickly that it looked like he was playing tricks to fool people.
“Use this way of walking if you run into anyone who’s after you.”
Marie-Louse was an excellent teacher. She was always straight to the point when teaching something to him.
She would figure out which situations would be most dangerous and likely, and teach skills that fit those instances.
Though her brevity annoyed Jackal at times, Marie-Louise’s teachings were always a blessing to Jackal in difficult times.
But Marie-Louise never told him the names of the skills she taught. She said it was because the skills all had names that were unnecessarily grand and outdated for this day and age.
So Jackal had to make up his own names for the skills.
Internally repeating the name he had given the skill, Jackal kept walking. Forming and using all of the inner power in his engine room to glide forward.
Not only was there energy from whenever he took a step, but he also added potential energy in his step whenever he pushed off from the ground.
That was how Jackal was able to walk much faster and further, than usual.
The most important part was to move his knees smoothly and his arms naturally.
This was to not let his opponents know that he was in a rush.
The core to Covert acceleration was to move much further than expected to confuse the opponents and shake their sense of distance and perception.
In an area that had much to see like the market, Jackal’s skills shone and he was able to put quite a bit of distance between him and his opponents.
He could feel himself getting further away from them, but also felt the Wulin people speeding up.
Reaching a set of crossroads, Jackal turned the corner and disappeared. His pursuers sped up.
But they couldn’t use their lightweight movement when there were so many people around them. Their skills, unlike Jackal’s Covert acceleration, were too flashy to be performed in secret.
The Wulin people were almost running and by the time they turned the corner, Jackal had turned another corner.
This is what Jackal had wanted. The market was set up like a chessboard and had many corners Jackal could turn to hide.
The leader of his pursuers, a fairly large man, motioned to the others with his hand. They split up into three directions. The one who was last in line turned back while the man in the middle kept running forward. The leading man chased after Jackal.
The other two were now running fast enough that it was noticeable. Though they were not technically running, they weren’t exactly walking either. But their speed was as fast as Jackal’s.
They were using a similar skill to Jackal’s Covert acceleration. But their techniques were far more noticeable and awkward than Jackal’s.
‘Two have veered off course. Are they trying to close in on me? Interesting.’
Jackal turned another corner and hid himself, halting on the spot and hiding his presence.
Hiding in the shadows, Jackal waited for his pursuer. He soon heard calm and even breathing.
‘It reminds me of Marie-Louise’s breathing. But it’s lighter than her breathing.’
The large man, who was wearing a fedora, silently turned the corner. That was the first time Jackal had a chance to look at his face.
‘Is this.. what a Wulin person looks like?’
It was the first time he’d seen one up close.
Under the fedora were honey-colored curly hair and a strong Northern jaw.
Putting his surprised behind him, Jackal began walking towards the Wulin person.
Jackal used his skill again.
The moment that the man turned the corner, Jackal and the pursuer passed by each other in opposite directions.
Surprised by Jackal’s appearance, the man’s eyes were filled with shock.
Though he belatedly tried to reach out to Jackal, who had slithered past him like a snake, Jackal took one step forward and moved further than he should.
The tightly clenched fist hit nothing but air as it whipped past Jackal.
The man shouted.
At that moment, Jackal’s movements began to change.
Instead of continuing his leisurely pace, Jackal began to run.
What gripped the pursuer was a sense of fear.
With it being so hard for them to catch him when he was simply walking, how fast would Jackal be able to go once he started moving even quicker and running?
Would he be able to catch up with the man?
The pursuer didn’t have many options left. He took out a whistle and blew it, chasing after Jackal as he did so.
Though no sound came from the whistle, all of the men who were chasing after Jackal stopped simultaneously.
And they all began running towards the same direction.
Now, Jackal casted the fastest lightweight movement he had picked up from Marie-Louise. It was a skill for mid-to-long range distances, when one needed to run away from one’s enemies or move as fast as possible.
As Marie-Louise had not told him the skill’s name, he had to make up his own.
It came from the maneuver used by troops in which they moved as fast as possible to surround their opponents.
The skill allowed Jackal to move at a speed beyond a normal human’s capabilities.
‘My word, I’m the one doing this but I still can’t believe it.’
Everything around him, the buildings, the people and everything else, sped past him as if he was on a train.
Though he had practiced the skill many times in the narrow basement, this was the first time he was using the skill out in the field. Even Jackal was surprised by how fast he was going.
People screamed as Jackal raced past them.
“What is that?”
Jackal ignored their screams and kept his eyes on the ground. He concentrated on where to put each step.
And he kept going without stopping.
His ankle almost gave out when he stepped on a leaflet with his left foot, stumbling towards an arcade pillar while avoiding the people. He bounced off the pillar and his speed was like a hawk descending to caught its prey
Easily sidestepping a handcart that took up the entire road with tinkling bells, Jackal also avoided a woman pushing a stroller by grabbing the woman’s shoulder.
Moving past all of the obstacles in his way, Jackal was able to reach the edge of the market. Past it, he saw a sign showing where the entrance to the underground passages was.
He could no longer feel the presence of his pursuers. They had fallen behind although the men were still running; they were unable to pinpoint Jackal’s location.
Jackal ran to the entrance of the underground passageways. The stairs were divided into two. The side going up was empty while the side going down was brimming with people who looked like workers.
Jackal’s eyes momentarily filled with indecision. But that was only for a split second as Jackal began moving with purpose. He headed for the empty set of stairs on the right.
Jackal threw his body downwards. He matched the 30-degree angle of the stairs and flew down like a racing bullet.
Once he hit the ground, Jackal reached out a hand on the ground and bounced back up like a spring, and rolled on the ground a few times.
People started shouting when Jackal stood up. People were whispering and some of the workers were pointing at him and yelling.
Jackal dusted off his old jacket and started walking forward as if nothing had happened. He casted his Covert acceleration to get away from the gossipers.
He could no longer feel the presence of his pursuers.
Its been awhile since he was home.
Though it had only been a week, it felt like it had been a whole year.
Jackal opened the door and carefully entered his home.
The moment he opened the door, he heard rustling from inside.
Jackal’s eyes sparked and he whipped out his gun.
“Who is it?”
But Jackal quickly put his gun down once he recognized who he was talking to.
“…Jackal? Is that you?”
Erika, looking much gaunter than before, was inside his home.
“It’s you, right?”
Seeing her eyes, which were always half open and made her look constantly tired, were filled with tears.
Jackal knew something had gone wrong.
This eBook was selected for the ‘2015 Export eBook Translation Support’ project operated by the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea (KPIPA).
In Korea, there’s a very famous serial novel website, where the book “The Soldier” was first published. Due to the creativity of the author, it became an instant hit with more than 680,000 readers. “The Soldier” is a fantasy novel with the World War II as its background. The story first generated from the question, ‘What if the world of the Wulin actually existed in real life?’ Through the authors imagination, readers are introduced to characters with supernatural powers that start to reveal their abilities when put under extreme situations and are willing to cast their lives to defend what they ought to protect. Jackal, the main character, is a former German soldier. He’s a person of misfortune, swept up in war against his will and having to change sides multiple times. Coincidentally, Jackal meets Marie-Louise, a Jewish girl who holds an enormous secret. She holds within her the evil spirit of the Blood Demon, the most powerful martial arts wielder in history. Though the two first meet as enemies, they become allies through their fights together against the enemy. Through the heated battles, Jackal discovers that he possesses a miraculous power he never knew he had, which soon sets him in the crosshairs of the Blood Demon within Marie-Louise. Will Jackal, who was once called the ‘War Devil’ during the WWII, be able to finally safely flee to Argentina and gain his freedom?