In this Prologue, we get to see the beginning from another point of view across the border. Right from the start, we can see that there’s a lot of tension and intrigue in the story. And I can whole-heartedly promise that the action hasn’t even begun yet. There’s still so much more to go and so many questions left unanswered even in this Prologue. Read on to get sucked into this story’s vortex…
Prologue 2: The Beginning Again.
Unknown Market, Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
Three hooded figures walked into the bustling café in the market and sat down on a cranky wooden bench.
What nobody else in the café knew was that the two hooded men flanking the middle one were heavily armed with Kalashnikovs.
A boy walked over to the trio and asked for their order.
“Four Bitter Coffees,” replied the man sitting in the middle. The boy seemed puzzled, as the order did not tally with the number of men sitting. But nevertheless, he walked away without protest.
The two armed men were looking around nervously, alert for attacks. They tensed as a young man dressed in informal Western clothing approached them purposefully.
The young man had jet-black hair and dark eyes. He had sharp and handsome features. His gait was like that of a lion’s—leisurely and yet regal.
The man in the middle raised his hand slightly, to signal them not to act. The young man walked over to their table and drew out a chair.
“Greetings, Master,” murmured the young man.
The hooded man in the middle nodded. The other two hooded men relaxed. The boy who had taken their order returned with four small glasses on a tray. He served one to each and left. The four men sat sipping their coffees. The man in the middle, Master, lit his cigar.
“What is the matter, Master?” asked the young man, frowning.
The Master closed his eyes and sighed before answering in a raspy voice, “I have a…problem.” The young man seemed surprised, but held his tongue. “A problem that only you can solve.”
The young man took a deep breath. “I’m all yours, Master.”
The Master smiled. “I knew that I could count on you, my boy. You’re not just my student. You’re my weapon. The most powerful weapon I’ve ever created.”
The young man was still waiting for his Master to open up. The Master took one more whiff of cigar, before sighing. “I brought you up as though you’re my own son. I taught you everything I could—from martial arts to shooting guns. I sent you away only so that you could blend in with those Western and South Korean infidels and that you can do your duty without attracting suspicion, when your time comes.”
The young man stayed silent.
The Master continued, “Tell me, boy, of your time away from me.”
“I have graduated out of high school in London, Master. And my pretense is still the same—I’m the heir of a long-dead Britain-settled South Korean oil baron. You promised me that you will hand me a mission once my schooling is done—when my time will come.”
The Master laughed. “You have a sharp memory, my boy. A very sharp one.”
He looked at the young man with a strange light in his eyes. “I found my one big mistake at last,” he said, taking a whiff from the cigar, “The last time, I was fooled by a decoy. But this time, I know that it’s her.”
The young man frowned. The Master’s voice was like sandpaper rubbing on stone, as he said, “I found my daughter. I found my mistake where I committed it. And I feel that your time has come.”
Finally, the young man showed an emotion—surprise. “Master, do you mean…”
“Yes. And I have a mission for you. Are you willing to take it up?”
The young man’s eyes blazed with pride. “I am, Master!”
The Master nodded and his face was expressionless. He took another whiff from his cigar. Then he looked into his protégé’s eyes. His voice was like a knife being rubbed on a stone floor.
“Clean up the mess I’ve made.”
We’ve now been introduced to our two male leads. The female lead is introduced to us in the next Prologue.
The most wonderful part of this book is that we don’t get to know their names till the third chapter. This book is filled with mystery, suspense and intrigue. And of course, there’s also the haunting question of who’s the OTP.
Again, I’m going to zip up my mouth from now on.