SOSHI: The Roads We Have Taken – Chapter 12

September 21, 2014 in moonrise31, SOSHI, The Roads We Have Taken by moonrise31

When the summer fields are mown,
When the birds are fledged and flown,
  And the dry leaves strew the path;
With the falling of the snow,
With the cawing of the crow,
Once again the fields we mow
  And gather in the aftermath…

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Chapter 12: In which information is sought and hope is chased, but failure is ever-present.

“Unnie, are you sure you’ll be fine by yourself?”

Hyoyeon waved off Yoona’s concern. “Please, Yoong. I’ve been in this place hundreds of times. I’d know it with my eyes closed.” She paused, adding quietly, “I knew it even before my eyes were closed.”

Yoona bit her lip. “Okay, unnie. I’ll question Yongguk, then, and you—”

“No.” Hyoyeon held up a finger. “I will go and interview Yongguk, because he’s had way too much time being within ten meters of you already. You can take the washed up billionaire who has nothing better to do than assault his family members.”

Yoona winced. “You were always a tactful one, unnie.”

Hyoyeon grinned, putting another finger up to turn her gesture into a V-sign. “Thanks, I try.”

Minutes later, Hyoyeon walked down a hallway by herself, following the sound of the guard’s footsteps in front of her.

The guard finally stopped, and Hyoyeon heard the click of a lock and a door swinging open on almost soundless hinges. “Yongguk-sshi,” the guard said. “Agent Kim Hyoyeon is here to see you.”

“Agent? From SOSHI?” Yongguk’s clothes rustled as he shifted from wherever he was sitting. Hyoyeon stepped inside the room, trying to get her bearings. There was only so much she could discern from the echoes of their voices bouncing off the walls, or the distance between where Yongguk sat and where she stood just inside the doorway.

“How’re you doing, Yongguk-sshi?” Hyoyeon asked, leaning against the wall behind her and crossing her arms.

“I could be better,” Yongguk replied dryly. “What brings you here, Agent Kim? You have to believe me when I say I already told you guys everything.”

“And we do believe you,” Hyoyeon agreed. “At least, we believe Sica when she says that is indeed what you said.”

“Right,” Yongguk agreed, and Hyoyeon didn’t miss the slight tremble in his quiet tone. She suppressed a grin.

“Anyway,” she continued. “I’m actually here for something different. Although we’ve rounded up all of your top leaders, I think it’s safe to say that not all of the loose ends have been tied, yeah?”

The fabric of Yongguk’s shirt rustled again as he shrugged. “I really have no idea anymore, Agent Kim, but I wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility.”

“Great.” Hyoyeon had heard enough to pinpoint exactly where Yongguk’s eye level would be. She focused her gaze—something that Yuri commented once had become sharper, even unsettling, because she “stared through people, and not just at them”. She knew she had him when his almost indiscernible intake of breath rang in her ears as loudly as if he had been hyperventilating.

Hyoyeon smiled. “I have a question.”

Yoona blinked when the guard swung the door open to reveal a rather plush-looking room, as far as cells usually went. The walls were still bare, the floor exposed as ugly gray cement; but the bed had nice sheets, and there was even a table with two leather armchairs on either side—Really? Yoona thought, Leather? Armchair?—Kwangsoo reclining in one of them.

She didn’t miss the faint scent of cologne wafting through the air as the billionaire stood up.

“Living comfortably, I see,” Yoona commented.

“Not nearly as comfortably as I would like,” Kwangsoo replied easily. He gestured towards the empty chair across from him. “Have a seat, please, Agent.”

Yoona shook her head. “I’ll stand, thanks.” She pulled out her notepad and pen from her jacket pocket. “I assume you know why I’m here, Kwangsoo-sshi.”

“Ah, yes.” He settled into his chair once more and laced his fingers together. He peered at her over the top of his joined hands. “I assume you’re here to make a deal.”

Yoona raised her eyebrows. “I think you’ve made enough deals, Kwangsoo-sshi.” She paused to pointedly scan the room and its amenities. “But if that’s not enough enticement for you, how about this.” Her steady gaze met Kwangsoo’s. “You tell me how you got the name ‘Jeongnam’, Kwangsoo-sshi, and I won’t have you moved to a much more uncomfortable cell after our talk is over.”

“Not to sound overconfident, Agent,” Kwangsoo replied, “but I have more than enough money to live my days out here as comfortably as allowed, if not more so. And that’s if I actually do choose to stay here, which I assure you is not the goal.”

Yoona shook her head. “I don’t know how you got this far, Kwangsoo-sshi, but I assure you that it won’t be happening for much longer. Unless, of course, you choose to cooperate.” She tapped the end of her pen on her notepad, deciding that she might as well play her trump card now—the less time she spent in this room with Kim Kwangsoo, the better.

She stepped forward, approaching the table. “I’d really be doing you two favors, actually. Because if you don’t tell me, Kwangsoo-sshi,” she gripped the table’s sides and leaned in close, voice dropping to a whisper, “I’ll have no choice but to ask Jung Jessica to pay you a visit.”

Kwangsoo visibly paled, and Yoona resisted the incredible urge to giggle. “Let’s not be hasty, Agent.”

“Oh, no.” Yoona straightened, flipping her notepad to a clean page. “I very much dislike being hasty, Kwangsoo-sshi.” She looked at him expectantly.

He exhaled, glancing off to one side. “Ryuhwa said his name, is all. To try and convince me to help her sister. Right before…ah, she got hit.”

Yoona’s eye twitched. Refusing to admit it to yourself won’t make it easier. But she kept that thought unspoken, instead writing a line down in her notes before giving Kwangsoo a practiced smile. “Thank you, Kwangsoo-sshi.”

She turned to leave, but just before she reached the door, she couldn’t resist adding, “Enjoy the rest of your stay.”

“A bomber,” Yongguk repeated. “Whose name is Dae Koyu?”

“It’s a fake identity. But I’m sure you’ve had one or two explosives experts in your employment at one point or another,” Hyoyeon pressed. “Surely someone must be coming to mind.”

“Well, sure.” Yongguk hesitated. “I didn’t deal with all of them personally, though. You’d probably have to ask Junhong.”

Really? The scrawny high school kid? Hyoyeon almost blurted. But to have a teenager running around with one of the more notorious drug gangs in the city probably said a lot about Choi Junhong’s aptitude for such things. She frowned, thinking. Sooyoung and Seohyun had gone to Seven Springs, but they hadn’t reported any discovery yet—not that Hyoyeon would know right away in either case.

Well, might as well take a shot at it. She cleared her throat. “What if I told you where we think the guy keeps his supplies stored? It’s somewhere you’re very familiar with, I’m sure.”

Yongguk shrugged again. “Maybe.”

“Seven Springs,” Hyoyeon said. “And…it was ammonium…ammonia? Whatever. Something found in fertilizer and cold packs. He’s storing it in that tea shop, like you guys used to do with your own collection of sketchy products.”

“Oh…” Yongguk trailed off.

“Yeah?” Hyoyeon prompted.

“I do know one guy it might be,” Yongguk confirmed. “And I guess it would make sense if he was the one behind all these bombings. The thing is, we decided to not have him work for us, because he’s kind of high-risk. But now that we’re out of the picture, I guess he’s got free reign; as far as the old man will let him, anyway.”

There’s Jeongnam again, Hyoyeon thought grimly. “And does this high-risk guy have a name?” She prompted.

“Yeah.” Yongguk paused, probably to brush some hair out of his eye. “His name is Do Shibak.”

“Hey.”

Sunny turned and smiled. “Hey, you made it.”

Youngsun returned the grin. “Well, I’m hardly one to turn down an agent when she requests my presence.”

Sunny snorted. “Come on, I ask you to just hang out sometimes, don’t I?”

“You do,” Youngsun conceded. “But that’s not why you asked me here today, is it?”

“Nope.” Sunny shook her head and pushed a cup towards the other woman. “Here. You still like mocha, right?”

Youngsun’s eyes lit up. “Of course. Thanks.” She picked up the drink and gingerly took a sip of the hot liquid. “But yeah, you don’t really ask to meet at this coffee shop unless it’s for work, I’ve noticed.”

“Hm. I guess it became a habit from the last case,” Sunny chuckled. Then her expression turned serious. “So, I think Taeyeon told me that you weren’t present at Kim Kwangsoo’s trial.” She avoided using the word father. Youngsun shook her head. “I’m guessing you don’t know what he said at the end, then.”

“Did he explode in court or something? He has a bit of a temper.” Youngsun paused. “But you probably figured that out,” she added wryly.

Sunny winced. “Maybe. Does the name ‘Jeongnam’ ring any bells for you?”

“No.” Youngsun lifted the cup to her lips once more. “Should it?”

Sunny shrugged. “Kim Kwangsoo tried to buy his freedom by dropping that name after the judge had already ruled. And,” she glanced down at her phone, where Yoona’s text was still on the screen, “apparently Ryuhwa was the one who told it to him.”

“Oh.” Youngsun’s face fell at the mention of her sister’s name.

“Still no news, huh?” Sunny reached over to pat her shoulder sympathetically.

“Well, better than bad news, I suppose,” Youngsun replied. “Her condition is still stable. Besides…the not-waking-up part.”

“One day,” Sunny assured her, sounding much more confident than she felt. But “hope” had been something that she’d had to depend on a lot for these past several days, especially when it had come to finding Krystal; and that had turned out okay so far, more or less.

But for how much longer?

She pushed the thought away, returning her attention to the question at hand. “So I guess it’s safe to say that since Ryuhwa knew about Jeongnam, Ryuyoung must have told her.”

Youngsun nodded slowly. “That’d be reasonable, I think.” She put her drink down. “Do you know where Ryuyoung is?”

Sunny shook her head. “We brought her in after we ran into her that one time at Seven Springs, and we weren’t really concerned with the whole drug-trafficking thing at the time as much as we were about finding Ryuhwa’s assaulter. So when she didn’t have much to say, we had to let her go.”

“Well.” Youngsun grinned. “It’s a good thing you called me here then, Sunny-sshi.”

Sunny raised her eybrows at the sudden honorific, but played along. “And why is that, Youngsun-sshi?”

“Because I happen to know where Ryuyoung is.”

[1:34 PM] Taeyeon: Are you sure you don’t need anyone to go with you?

Sunny rolled her eyes and considered ignoring the other’s text entirely, but decided against it. She fired off a quick reply.

[1:35 PM] If I get in trouble, I’ll be sure to call the police…oh wait, that’s right. I’m the police.

She smiled a little at the indignant emoticon Taeyeon sent in return, and then slipped her phone into her pocket. She raised her fist and knocked on the somewhat rundown apartment door in front of her.

The door opened a crack, a cautious eye peering at her from behind the security chain. “Agent…Lee?”

“Hello, Ryuyoung-sshi,” Sunny greeted. “Mind if I ask you a quick question? It doesn’t really involve you. It’s more about your former…employers. And their employer.”

“Oh.” Ryuyoung lifted a hand to undo the security chain and open the door fully. “You mean Jeongnam-sshi?”

“Yes.” Sunny nodded. “What do you know about him?”

Ryuyoung shrugged. “Not much. I only overheard Yongguk-sshi and the others talking with him once. They never really addressed him directly, but when Yongguk-sshi was alone with him, he called him ‘Jeongnam-sshi’.”

“I…” Sunny stopped. This would be the first time she’d stood face-to-face with Ryuyoung after they’d met in the back room of Seven Springs. And since then, she’d only seen that face once more, comatose in a hospital bed.

Ryuhwa, eyes closed, lips almost bloodless, the rise and fall of her chest the only sign of life besides the soft beeping of the heart monitor beside her.

Ryuyoung, eyes open, standing on her own two feet, voicing her confusion at Sunny’s sudden hesitation.

“…Agent Lee?”

Sunny blinked and shook herself free of the conflicting images whirling in her mind. “Sorry. What I meant to say was, thank you for your time. If we have any more questions that you might be able to help with, can I find you here?”

Ryuyoung nodded, bidding her a soft goodbye as Sunny turned and made her way down the hall.

One day.

But what did she really know?

Sunny remembered a poem Seohyun had excitedly read out to her once, something about “hope” being a feather.

But the weight in her chest was threatening to drag everything she stood for, everything she held dear, down into a darkness she might never climb out of again.

…Not the sweet, new grass with flowers
Is this harvesting of ours;
  Not the upland clover bloom;
But the rowen mixed with weeds
Tangled tufts from marsh and meads,
Where the poppy drops its seeds

  Is this simply silence? Or the darkest gloom?