Episode 100

Okcheon Express Agency (2)
1 week ago
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The fusion was theoretically perfect.

I run, and Tang Hwarin shoots. If this were a robot animation, the balance of power between “Hwarinho/Bi” would be so perfect in theory that it would warrant its own section on Wikipedia under criticism and controversy.

Theoretically speaking.

“All my hidden weapons are gone!”

“I’m out of internal energy too!”

Damn it. We never thought running out of weapons and fuel would be the problem.

I had never learned light-footed techniques, so I only knew the rapid acceleration technique, which consumed a lot of internal energy, and Tang Hwarin ran out of hidden weapons as soon as we combined.

I didn’t want to realize here why the protagonists in robot animations use nuclear power or some mysterious energy source and why their long-range weapons are beam weapons.

As we stopped attacking, the bandits gradually closed in on us.

“Damn it. If only we had a little more time and budget.”

If only we had enough money to use 100 years’ worth of internal energy and infinite ammunition for hidden weapons, we could have easily escaped!

“It’s all… Damn. My fault.”

Tang Hwarin blamed herself for the situation, her voice dripping with guilt.

Strictly speaking, it’s neither your fault nor mine; it’s the courier service’s and the bandits’ fault. Why blame yourself for that?

“Capture those bastards!”

“Yes!”

Before I could comfort Tang Hwarin for her self-reproach, the bandits rushed us and quickly subdued us.


Including us, the entire Okcheon Express Bureau was subdued by the Black Tiger Bandits.

How many died?

Looking around, I saw the bodies of porters who had been carrying luggage. In such a situation, the porters who didn’t know martial arts or had poor skills were certainly doomed.

It felt too close to home. Not long ago, I would have ended up like them.

What about the couriers? Did any survive?

Looking around, I didn’t see the bodies of any dead couriers. Although they were groaning in pain from their injuries, it seemed no one was dead.

Many bandits died too, but the couriers didn’t. Did they deliberately subdue us without killing?

Including us, the couriers of the Okcheon Express Bureau were bound and awaited the bandits’ decision.

“You bitch! Do you know how many of our men died because of you?”

A bandit with thick, green hair, apparently a leader, scolded Tang Hwarin fiercely.

“……”

Tang Hwarin didn’t respond, but her resentful gaze towards the bandit made it clear we had caused the most casualties.

You bastards from Okcheon Express Bureau. We came here as guests and even did a death carry for you, and this was how it ended? What tier were you guys from the Okcheon Express Bureau?

“Not going to talk, you leper bitch!”

The bandit leader raised his sword high, intending to slash Tang Hwarin right away.

What the hell is he doing! I opened my mouth in shock.

“You! How dare you speak so carelessly, presuming safety!”

I quickly yelled with a voice as if I was possessed by a dignified servant from a noble house.

“What? Who are you?”

At my shout, the other bandits around Tang Hwarin all turned to look at me.

You all ate with those knives, so your faces looked so fierce. Try to relax your expressions a bit.

Was it because Tang Hwarin killed many of their comrades that their faces were even more fearsome? Let’s quickly apply some emergency coolant to cool down their anger.

“How dare you! To the precious gem of the Sichuan Tang Family! The famous! Disciple of Tang Geoho! A genius in medicine! Receiving the attention of the family elders! Miss! Tang! Hwarin! What kind of insolence is this!”

It’s hard to emphasize. But I shouted until the mountains moved, so everyone must have understood.

“What! The, the, the Sichuan Tang Family?”

The green-haired bandit who had been raising his sword immediately turned pale and lowered his sword.

“What? There’s someone from the Sichuan Tang Family here?”

“Bandit Leader!”

Upon my call, the leader of the Black Tiger Bandits, who was holding the head of the Okcheon Express Bureau courier, appeared before us. Was the courier head alright? He seemed to be alive but in bad shape.

“Purple hair with green eyes? Hey, are you really from the Sichuan Tang Family?”

“…Tch.”

Tang Hwarin clicked her tongue as if the question wasn’t worth answering and turned her gaze away.

“That sharpness is just like a Tang girl. Hey, Okcheon courier head, is she really from the Sichuan Tang Family? Answer me!”

The Bandit Leader began to shake the courier head as if expecting a soda to drop from a malfunctioning vending machine.

Demanding an answer after turning the person into a mess.

“Uh, ugh. Yes, she is a guest of the Okcheon Express Bureau.”

The courier head barely managed to confirm Tang Hwarin’s identity.

“Ha. Damn. Of all places, the Sichuan Tang Family.”

The Bandit Leader glanced at Tang Hwarin’s face and then lamented to the sky.

It’s lamentable. The bandits here weren’t doing this just for subsistence; they’ve built fortresses in strategic locations and collected tolls at their gates.

Now, the Bandit Leader must be having a lot of thoughts upon seeing Tang Hwarin.

If it were a simple matter of gratitude and grudges, killing Tang Hwarin would be possible. The problem was that she got involved while they were merely collecting tolls as part of their routine operations.

If word got out that a daughter of the Sichuan Tang Family died at the hands of bandits? And right next to Sichuan, in Hubei Province?

‘The Sichuan Tang Family does not forget.’

The Bandit Leader must be thinking of the Sichuan Tang Family’s motto, imagining the destruction of his business as the Tang Family’s forces come down on them.

I revealed Tang Hwarin’s identity with that in mind. If you had a trump card, you used it.

“Brother! This woman killed many of our men! Let’s kill her here!”

A bandit with hair that seemed to be in the midst of convergent evolution, blending green with other hues, addressed The Bandit Leader.

“You idiot! Who do you think you’re fooling with that statement? Are you The Bandit Leader’s errand boy?”

“No, I am not.”

Clearly, this was a mind yet to fully evolved, lacking in depth of thought.

“Shut up. Take those who are fine. For those who look like they’re on death’s doorstep, just send them to the afterlife.”

“Yes, understood!”

“Argh!”

“Please, save me!”

“Mother…”

We silently bore witness to the sounds of lifelines being cut short of those we had just walked alongside, as we were bound and began our march towards their fortress.


A day had passed since we were hauled to the Black Tiger Bandits’ fortress and thrown into a cell that was likely just our own.

The Bandit Leader sought out the courier head of the Okcheon Express Bureau.

“Okcheon courier head. You’ve only brought trouble and look at the mess now.”

“Shut up! It’s your fault for demanding a toll ten times higher that we ended up in this predicament. How dare you shirk responsibility!”

“Hahaha! Did you really think I intended to charge ten times the toll? It was merely a starting point for negotiation. Who draws their sword immediately in a negotiation?”

What? They resorted to swords without even attempting to negotiate?

The couriers and I exchanged incredulous looks with the courier head.

“That, that was our way of negotiating by drawing our swords! Who was it then that charged at us?”

That didn’t seem accurate. Not just me, but the couriers also gave the courier head a “that figures” look.

“Haha! It’s precisely because you always lose your temper and draw your sword that the Okcheon Express Bureau’s deliveries are notoriously late. Send in spring, arrive the next spring. It’s joked that it should be renamed ‘Okcheon Drifting Bureau’ instead.”

“No, who was it that blocked our path?”

The courier head protested as if he had been wronged.

“Enough. We won’t touch the delivery items. When someone from the Okcheon Express Bureau arrives, we’ll negotiate and return them after receiving the money.”

“Our Okcheon Express Bureau does not negotiate with bandits…”

“Then, that day will become Okcheon Express Bureau’s collective memorial day.”

The Bandit Leader’s laughing face turned stern, his murderous intent clear, signaling this was not an empty threat.

Gulp. At the Bandit Leader’s remark, the courier head swallowed dryly, and the faces of the other couriers turned serious.

“Hahaha. See you next time.”

Pleased with the chilled atmosphere, the Bandit Leader laughed contentedly and turned away.

“Courier head. Why didn’t you control your temper?”

An old courier with an injured arm lamented to the courier head.

“What?”

“You know the bureau chief stressed so much not to be hasty and to not draw your sword.”

“If we show weakness to the bandits, it’s the end! They’ll look down on us and demand more tolls! We couldn’t have just tolerated it!”

“Given the size of our operation, we could have afforded that toll.”

“Cough. It’s just that the bureau has been struggling lately…”

“That’s all because of your antics, Okcheon courier head. People aren’t calling you ‘Okcheon Heobu’ (Okcheon Empty Husband) as a nickname for nothing.”

“You brat!”

Apparently sensitive about his nickname, the Okcheon courier head, despite his injuries, tried to throw a punch at the old courier.

“Courier head! Hold on! Hey! Apologize!”

“What will change by doing this? Still, our courier head works hard for our treatment!”

The couriers blocked the fuming courier head, and the old courier did not back down, as if to say why he should apologize when he did nothing wrong.

What a mess.

I sighed softly and sat in the opposite corner to avoid getting entangled in their scuffle.

Okcheon Express Bureau. The name evoked images of goods eternally lost in the Hubei triangle, arriving in a state of decay.

Even here, the notoriety of Okcheon was widespread. Known as the drifting bureau, the Okcheon Heobu had a reputation that preceded it.

‘I can’t just sit back and trust these guys.’

The thought of passively waiting and placing my trust in the Okcheon Express Bureau was no longer viable; they had become a symbol of unreliability in my mind.

How could I escape from here? Even if I managed to flee by some stroke of luck, the situation remained fraught with issues.

My gaze fell on Tang Hwarin, who was confined in a cell within my line of sight.

‘Tang Hwarin’s thigh wound was pretty deep.’

Tang Hwarin lay face down, unmoving. Though not entirely visible, I could discern the blood seeping through her thigh.

They claimed they would treat a member of the Tang Family separately, to avoid complications should she die, but escaping presented another challenge.

If the wound didn’t heal within a day or two, I would have to carry her during our escape, significantly increasing our chances of recapture.

‘If negotiation fails, I need to devise an escape plan.’

I must break free from this cell, rescue Tang Hwarin, and escape the fortress. The thought alone seemed like an insurmountable task.

Should I simply sit and wait, doing nothing?

“Ahhaha! Courier head! It’s my fault!”

“Uhhuh! Now’s not the time for us to be at odds! Let’s pull ourselves together!”

Caught up in my thoughts, I let out a soft sigh at the Okcheon Express Bureau’s attempt at reconciliation, which was neither particularly touching nor effectively comedic or tragic.

‘I definitely need to devise an escape plan.’

Instead of placing my faith in the Okcheon Express Bureau and remaining ensnared in the Black Tiger Bandits’ trap, I must carve out my own path to freedom.

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