Damocles Overthrown: Chapter 11

August 30, 2015 in Damocles Overthrown, moonrise31 by moonrise31

11. But, dear reader, stories can have alternate endings, alternate morals.

The first thing Sunny and Hyoyeon heard when they returned to the office was Tiffany groaning. “Can anyone. Anyone. Tell me why it suddenly feels like we all got thrown into some horribly halfhearted attempt at an American action thriller?”

“You would know, wouldn’t you?” Jessica commented.

Tiffany jabbed an index finger in her direction. “Out of all the people in this room, you are the least qualified to be throwing shade about Hollywood right now.”

Jessica shrugged.

“I don’t know about you,” Taeyeon belatedly answered, “but I was feeling it right about when someone shaved a few hairs off of Hyo’s glorious golden mane. Hey,” she jerked a thumb over her shoulder, “do you think that guy did it?”

Sunny pressed her lips into a thin line. “Well, it was certainly the guy who…” She nodded at Taeyeon’s cast in lieu of finishing. “Oh, thanks for the support, by the way.” She rested the pair of crutches against the arm of Taeyeon’s seat.

Seohyun tilted her head. “How do you know that, unnie? Taeyeon-unnie and I were the only ones who saw the manager of judicial reviews and — ”

“Yeah, the judge’s assistant.” Taeyeon waved a hand. “We were the only ones who saw him. But I wouldn’t put it past Sunny to be a mind reader or something.”

“Or I just looked at all these doodles you’ve been making.” Sunny bent down and picked up the top sheet from the pile in Taeyeon’s lap, where a detailed sketch of the man who’d been with Taeyeon and Seohyun in the courthouse file room was penciled in a corner. “Seriously Taeng, if the whole starving artist gig doesn’t work out for you, I’d suggest that you consider being a freelance sketch artist. Police stations across the country would love to have you.”

“So it is this guy.” Sooyoung sighed and sank back into the couch. “And your security people have him…restrained somewhere?”

Yoona leaned closer to Yuri. “Sunny-unnie did say she had a dungeon,” she stage-whispered, so the rest of the room could also hear.

Sunny rolled her eyes. “Look, I just think it’s about time we started getting some answers to all of the questions we’ve been running into. The least we can get out of this is finding out how much he’s getting paid, and then pay even more.”

“You think he’d sell out his employer?” Tiffany asked, raising her eyebrows.

Sunny raised her shoulders. “Worth a shot.” She smirked at Yoona. “My dungeon is in need of some renovations, so I have limited options at the moment.” Yoona raised her hand to cover her mock gasp.

“This…” Seohyun paused, gathering her thoughts before speaking again. “This all seems very strange, doesn’t it?”

Sooyoung snorted. “That might just be the understatement of the century there, maknae.”

“No, no, not all of this.” Seohyun swept her arm in a broad arc, and then hesitated. “I mean, yes, all of this, but I’m thinking specifically of a very small portion right now.”

“Ah.” Hyoyeon pulled up a chair and sat down, resting her elbows on the desk Seohyun was sitting at. “Please. Do tell.”

“Considering that whoever’s been hiring all of these people to come after us,” Seohyun said, “don’t you think it’s a little odd that — ”

A knock sounded at the door. Sunny twisted around. “Come in.”

“Sunny-sshi.” The butler peeked inside. “I have some unfortunate news.”

“Oh good,” Jessica muttered under her breath. “And here I was thinking that we were getting a bit too happy around here.”

“Our cameras have detected movement in the passageway to the garage in Dongdaemun.”

” — this intruder was the only one to come here,” Seohyun finished.

Sunny swore. “Okay, so they found it. I guess it was only a matter of time.”

Yuri bit her lip. “Sorry, guys. I thought we were stealthy enough when we went out.”

Hyoyeon sighed and got up again. “At this point, I’d say I’m actually surprised they didn’t try to run us down sooner. Figuratively. Or actually…” She glanced at Sunny’s slightly sickened expression before quickly adding, “so what’s the plan?”

“Is it one person, or more?” Yoona asked. “Are they driving?”

“It appears that they are on foot, Yoona-sshi,” the butler answered. “‘They’ meaning three new intruders.”

“Okay.” Tiffany nodded slowly. “You said the the passage is ten kilometers out, Sunny?” The other woman dipped her head in assent. “Alright. Ugh…I hate conversions.” She wrinkled her nose. “Anyone wanna tell me how long that gives us if they’re running at say, Olympic athlete speed?”

“We probably have about half an hour,” Seohyun supplied.

“Ah. Perfect. More than enough time for a plan.” Sooyoung clapped her hands and rubbed them together before looking around. “Right? Right?” She turned to the youngest in order to avoid the blank expressions she was getting in return. “Maknae?” she asked weakly.

Seohyun held her head in her hands, staring at the desktop until the print on the pages in front of her began to blur. “Give us a minute, unnie. I’m sure we’ll think of something.”

Sooyoung sighed as she walked down one of many seemingly endless hallways in Sunny’s residence. “I can’t believe it. Taeyeon’s really going to tell the judge that we’ve decided.”

Yoona shrugged. “I guess it was about time we made a ruling. We weren’t getting anywhere, and all of this stress hasn’t been good for my digestion.” As if on cue, her stomach rumbled.

Sooyoung couldn’t hold back a smile. “Do you remember where the kitchens are? Because I certainly don’t.”

“Around.” Yoona waved a careless hand before letting it fall back to her side. “But…unnie. I don’t know. I still feel like something’s off about all of this.”

Sooyoung snorted. “I swear, if anyone makes one more cautious statement trying to downplay exactly how utterly insane this entire week has been — ”

“But it doesn’t sit right with you either, right, unnie?” Yoona said quietly.

Sooyoung fell silent for a moment. “You’re right. It doesn’t.” She exhaled through her nose. “But what else are we going to do? We had a guy actually break in here to come after us, for heaven’s sake. I’ve been threatened in the hospital I work in, and that scratch on your leg wasn’t an accident. We just don’t have what it takes to deal with these people.”

Yoona bit her lip. “Yeah, I know, unnie. I guess…I expected we’d make it out on top somehow. I’ve probably been stunt-doubling in too many cheesy action movies lately.”

“Maybe you should try a medical drama next.” Sooyoung winked. “I’ve actually got this plot from a dream I had a few nights ago, where this one girl gets this guy’s wife’s heart for a transplant surgery — ”

“Oh, Sungmin-sshi, right?” Yoona piped up as the security guard rounded the corner. “Did you manage to get that guy to talk — ”

“He’s left,” Sungmin said, tightening his fist.

“What?” Sooyoung’s eyes widened. “Like, gone? He escaped?”

“You can drop the act,” Sungmin grumbled. “He probably caught your conversation around the second time you had it walking up and down this hallway, and we changed our patrols so that the only guaranteed escape route was the passage. Our cameras caught him in there, about a kilometer out already. He’ll meet up with the group soon.”

Yoona let out a relieved sigh. “I was getting tired. Who knew acting would be this hard?”

Sungmin shook his head. “I don’t know what you guys and Sunny-sshi have planned, but I can’t say it’s the way I’d go about doing things.”

“Look,” Sooyoung said, “I know you guys probably swore fealty to the Noble House of Lee for the duration of your lives as well as those of your children, but sometimes, we have to accept that the enemy is stronger than us. Which is why attacking them headfirst won’t be the best way.”

“But isn’t that what you’re doing?” Sungmin countered. “From what I’ve heard, it seems like you’re banking on this guy believing your act enough, and actually having enough weight to pull to get the rest of the attacks called off, all for you to somehow have enough time before announcing your ruling publicly to go and dig up some dirt on a huge company’s CEO and threaten him into submission. And that’s assuming he’s even behind all of this.”

Sooyoung glanced at Yoona. “Now that he says it, it does seem a little rash, doesn’t it?”

Yoona shrugged. “Yuri-unnie had the idea. And we all know how her last one played out.”

Sungmin’s stare switched back and forth between them. “What are you two…?”

Sooyoung smiled at him. “We agree — this certainly isn’t a plan I’m even a little bit comfortable with. But we’re under a time crunch and ran out of options probably before this whole thing even started. So considering that maknae actually grudgingly approved this plan, I’m going to say that that’s about as much of a guarantee of success as we can get.”

“It’s also Friday,” Yoona reminded him. “And the courthouse won’t be open on the weekends. That gives us two days to get something that might actually help us not have to rule Seo Jisoo guilty on Monday, if she is indeed innocent.”

Sooyoung made a face. “Wow. It’d really suck if she actually did steal all of that money, and all of this was only a simple embezzlement case with a side of mortal danger.”

Sungmin sighed, shaking his head. “I guess if you managed to convince Sunny-sshi to go through with this, I can only hope that it’ll turn out okay.”

“Hey, have a little faith.” Sooyoung grinned and reached out to pat him on the shoulder. “Because I know I could definitely use some more.” She looked at Yoona as they continued their walk down the hallway, leaving the still slightly distraught security guard behind. This time, they turned the corner instead of reversing directions. “About that dream though…I was being completely serious.”

“Oh really, unnie?” Yoona snickered. “Alright, I’m listening.”

“Okay, so it starts at this market, in a line for discounted beef…”

“Maknae,” Taeyeon said gently, “you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I know Hyo is certainly up for another go, or you can get Yuri or Fany or Sunny. Even I could go — pretend to be her injured cousin who was depending on her income to pay for hospital bills or something.”

“No, unnie, I’ll do this,” Seohyun replied, voice firm as she narrowed her eyes at her reflection in the mirror. She tugged at the wig sitting on her head. “I’m the closest to her age, anyway — hopefully she’ll be more comfortable then.”

Taeyeon shook her head. “You’re acting like we’re a generation apart or something. What, do you think we’re going to talk to her about Walkmans or whatever musical era came before Hallyu?”

“Maybe,” Seohyun agreed, a smile quirking her lips as she added a pair of round glasses without frames to her disguise. “In all seriousness though, unnie, I just…I need to do this.”

Taeyeon didn’t speak until Seohyun had turned around, finally satisfied with her appearance. “This doesn’t have anything to do with me being an invalid, does it?”

Seohyun winced. “Don’t talk like that, unnie.”

“You’re right.” Taeyeon nodded. “At least my hands are okay.” She wiggled her fingers absentmindedly for a few moments before looking up again. “Just…as much as you want us to be safe, we want the same for you. If not more so.”

“I know.” Seohyun laughed. “You know, unnie, I didn’t think I’d be able to care so much about a group of people in such a short amount of time. I haven’t felt the need to…protect? To protect someone this much, even with all of the kids I counsel — the ones who actually need the protecting.”

“Well, that’s certainly debatable. I know for a fact that Yoona’s more of a klutz than she lets on — not even these mysterious shadow ninjas going after our lives could give her all of those bruises on her shins, at about the height a coffee table would be.” Taeyeon scratched the back of her head. “What I’m trying to say is… just be careful.”

“I will.” Seohyun leaned down to give the seated woman a hug. “And Tiffany-unnie insisted on going with me, anyway. I think she wants to actually go out and do something after all of this waiting. And I can understand the feeling.”

“Yeah, well.” Taeyeon shifted up, straightening in her chair and giving Seohyun a smile. “Stay safe, okay? Adventure isn’t everything.”

“We will,” Seohyun promised.

A few minutes later, Tiffany entered the room, ready to discuss their plans for paying a visit to a currently very incarcerated Seo Jisoo.