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Chapter 1138 Arriving In Pyongyang
Immediately after setting off from his office, Berengar found Min-Ah and dragged her onto a flight towards Pyongyang. The Joseon Princess was rather nervous as she sat on a comfy sofa while dressed in a traditional hanbok. Berengar immediately took notice of this and chuckled as he tried to calm the young woman with some comforting words.
"Relax, you should not feel so anxious. After all, once we have concluded our visit, the debt that my Empire owes you will be paid in full..."
Min-Ah stared at Berengar in disbelief. The price she had asked in return for serving the Reich was two-fold. Itami's head for causing the deaths of her adopted family, and the untimely demise of her stepmother, who had been responsible for her biological mother's death.
Naturally, as the war progressed, and Min-Ah came to realize that the death of her adopted family was not in actuality Itami's fault, the Joseon Princess had rescinded her first condition. However, she still demanded the head of her stepmother served on a silver platter.
This was something that her superiors kept telling her would occur soon enough, but until now, it had never manifested. Thus, she was quite surprised when she heard the words come from Berengar's own mouth, and was quick to inquire about the details.
"How? How will you do it?"
Berengar simply smirked and wagged his finger before responding to the young woman's question.
"You don't need to know the details. All you need to know is that the day after we leave Pyongyang and return to Heian-kyō, your stepmother will die a miserable death. The pieces are already in place. We just need to wait until after this diplomatic visit is concluded.
As far as your father is concerned, his favorite concubine will suddenly be overcome with illness, and will perish within twenty-four hours after the fact. I a.s.sure you; he has no cure that can possibly save her life. And there will be no evidence left behind that we are responsible."
Immediately, Min-Ah's mind s.h.i.+fted to a very specific poison, which she had been informed of its use during her training as a German field agent.
"You're going to poison her with ricin?"
A confident grin curved on Berengar's lips as he nodded his head before leaving a brief remark.
"You have been trained well... Now let's leave this discussion here, because soon we will be landing in the German airbase outside Pyongyang, and not a soul should know of the conversation we just had."
Naturally, Min-Ah agreed with this sentiment and was quick to disembark from the plane by Berengar's side once it had landed. Immediately, an armored truck was on the airstrip, ready to greet the Kaiser, along with a unit of Joseon special operations soldiers.
After a brief greeting with the Joseon diplomat who had been sent to receive him, Berengar and Min-Ah entered the car, which led them to the royal palace, on the way there, the diplomat spoke with Berengar about his visit.
"It is so nice of the Kaiser to visit us here in our capital. You have done much for our Kingdom these last few years, and we are eternally thankful. It is just that these are troubling times, and while the Ming Dynasty seals itself off from the rest of the world, you are rebuilding the j.a.panese Empire, something which our King finds incredibly troublesome."
Berengar forced a smile as he heard these words, before responding to the diplomat with the utmost courtesy.
"I a.s.sure you, my efforts in j.a.pan are purely humanitarian in nature. We will not be building up their military, aside from those limited numbers that are required to protect their current borders. Meanwhile, the Empire of j.a.pan has been explicitly forbidden, in their new const.i.tution, from waging any wars which are not defensive in nature.
If memory serves correctly, I have also invested a significant sum in the reconstruction of the Joseon Dynasty. I am not asking you to forgive the j.a.panese, as I am all too aware of the damage they have caused to your great nation. What I am asking is that we all simply accept the peace that currently exists, and not exact further vengeance on the j.a.panese population for the misdeeds of a few madmen who have already been punished.
There are terrible consequences for having a peace based upon vengeance, and I would prefer not to suffer them in the near future. I a.s.sure you, in the coming decades, my troops will still be stationed in j.a.pan, and will monitor the j.a.panese Defence Forces and any imperialistic sentiments they might still have among their ranks.
Princess Yi-Min-Ah here can attest that I am still as dedicated to my alliance with the Joseon Dynasty as I have been in the past. The reason I am here today is twofold. One is to express my a.s.surances that the new j.a.panese Empire will not be a threat to your great nation, and two is to convince your King, that it would be in everyone's best interest if he did not go along with the Ming Dynasty's new policy of isolation."
The diplomat looked over at Min-Ah and adjusted his gla.s.ses. He had not recognized her as the missing princess. While he had heard tales of Min-Ah's exploits during the war, he did not believe his ears. For a Joseon Princess to be a double agent, working for the Germans to spy on the j.a.panese, it was simply unthinkable. Thus, he posed a question to the young woman with a hint of doubt in his voice.
"Are you really Princess Min-Ah?"
Min-Ah simply scoffed and looked away from the man, as she expressed her ident.i.ty in a way the man could not question.
"My father will be able to confirm my ident.i.ty..."
Thus, the Diplomat remained silent for the rest of the journey to the palace, where they then were greeted by the Joseon King, who immediately upon seeing the daughter he had given up for adoption in her fully grown state, began to weep as he forced the young woman into his embrace.
"Min-Ah! I thought the worst had happened when I heard that your adopted family was murdered in their own homes. I am glad to see you are alright. Please come inside. We have much to catch up on!"
However, Min-Ah's response was cold as she forced herself out of her father's hug, and simply gestured towards Berengar who was the real star of this diplomatic visit.
"I am only here to act as a diplomat on behalf of the Kaiser. You no longer have the right to call yourself my father. Not after everything you have done..."
The Joseon King was shocked that his daughter had become so indifferent towards him. As for Berengar, he cleared his throat before reaching out his hand in a friendly gesture.
"King Yi Sung-Jin, I must say, it is a pleasure to see you again. I believe the last time we were in the same room together was during the Vienna Accords? How have you been?"
The Joseon King gazed up at Berengar and closely examined him for some time. He was not dressed in a military uniform, but rather his imperial regalia, and was somehow more handsome than the last time Sung-Jin had seen the man. After several moments of awkward silence, the Joseon King looked back and forth between his daughter and the golden-haired man standing next to her, and suddenly came to a misconception.
"Don't tell me you have taken my daughter as another one of your lovers! What is the j.a.panese empress not enough for you? You need a Korean Princess too?"
Min-Ah instantly blushed, while Berengar felt like coughing up blood. He was dumbstruck by this single comment and was quick to calm the enraged Joseon King.
"Certainly not. Min-Ah is one of my most valued employees. I a.s.sure you that I have no such intentions towards her..."
Everyone who was present for this conversation stared at one another in awkward silence until finally the Joseon King broke out laughing. As he did so, he unintentionally insulted his daughter while patting Berengar on the back.
"Hahaha! Of course, why would you fall for someone like my daughter, when you have such world cla.s.s beauties by your side? No, Min-Ah is not a proper fit, but I a.s.sure you that I have more than a few daughters who might be up to your standards. Please come inside. We have been out in the cold long enough!"
Min-Ah silently glared at her father as she followed Berengar into the Joseon Palace. Meanwhile, Berengar felt bad for the girl. She had just now reunited with her father, and already he had said that she wasn't as pretty as her sisters.
If Min-Ah was the least pretty of her sisters, then just how gorgeous were the other Joseon Princesses? Berengar was quite curious about this question as he walked into the palace by King Sung-Jin's side.
What awaited Berengar and Min-Ah was a lavish feast, in which they would discuss the current political situation with the Joseon King over a nice hot meal.
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