The Imperial Hunter Chapter 62 - Light and Shadow (4)

Author: Dawn

“You’ve thought well.”

Delighted at my true thoughts, Kyung-tae suggested,

“Then why not reinvest all the cash obtained this time, unconditionally throwing it at them as impressively large investment funds? As generous upfront investment without strings attached is rare, it will make an impression. It will also prevent the Admiral from recklessly digging his own grave in impatience. Showing your authority is a bonus.”

Except for the tacked-on remark at the end, Kyung-tae’s insight was pointing out areas my thoughts hadn’t yet reached. The troops the Admiral was so worried about were even now, one by one, removing their uniforms and being driven to life’s edge. What of their families’ livelihoods? The Admiral could lose composure at any time and ruin himself through rash actions. 220 million pesos and 3.8 million dollars in banknotes would be weighty enough to hold him down.

“I disagree.”

Suyeon calmly said.

“As obvious as it is, people change easily when they hold large sums. Even if the Admiral is a rare exception, lavishly letting him taste considerable money from the start will excessively raise his expectations for future profits.”

That’s true.

“However, for the Admiral to handle tens of millions in a single deal will take considerable time. Dissatisfaction arising from this has a high chance of making the Admiral impatient again, or listless. It’s a different case from the Chief, whose purpose itself was attracting investment.”

In other words, it was like a drug addict’s threshold. The addictiveness and harm of money were no less than drugs, not just in a metaphorical sense, but in reality as well.

Kyung-tae clicked his tongue.

“Hmm, listening to you, you’re right. Then how about reducing the investment amount? Like 100 thousand dollars. Or is that too little?”

“Is investment necessarily needed?”

I voiced my opinion.

“Simply providing steady deals may be enough to prevent rash actions. He’ll be busy handling the volume, leaving no time for other greed. Since this is his first time, the mental fatigue will be considerable as well.”

In any field, newcomers inherently lacked composure. Even if everything went perfectly, the Admiral would still have some unease. Fear of being caught and inspected. Lack of confidence in his choices. While digesting my orders, he has energy left to dig other wells? He’d have to be a natural-born businessman.

“What he needs is a sense of incremental accomplishment reinforced step-by-step. To quench an urgent thirst, advancing payment with each deal is better than unilateral investment. In the process, as we steadily conduct business on good terms, in time when he becomes familiar with market conditions he will naturally realize our good faith. Trust can be earned without being late.”

Reaching the point of considering favorable terms, I thought of a decent plan.

Last October’s second Friday, White Chief called to convey thanks. Saying the tribe had finally passed the worst of the epidemic. That though sacrifices were great, they could rise again. Appended to that was this promise.

「Chairman. You are a true friend of our People of the Desert, and the Five Tribes. Even if you won’t guarantee for us, we will guarantee for you. Such is the only friendship we know. As this is gratitude conveyed in the name of the tribe, not the casino, you will always be the most honored guest on the lands of the Five Tribes.」

I was able to immediately receive a report of this ambiguous promise’s result after the call. That the casino wasn’t collecting fees. This brought me some embarrassment. I never intended to receive reciprocation in this manner.

Though grateful for now to the point of accepting monetary loss, this was a sacrifice made while the tribe was undergoing an immense economic crisis. As unpaid labor accumulated, the heavier the unseen burden became until eventually gratitude was diluted to nothingness.

I contacted the chief as soon as I got the report, strongly urging him to collect at least half the fees. I had to make up a reason, unable to reveal my true intentions.

“You all are still in dire straits. It doesn’t seem right as a friend to freely enjoy your service in such circumstances. As a friend, I want to pay it all, and as a businessman, I want an exemption, so how about paying just half as a compromise?”

The chief’s umpteenth expression of thanks in a voice more muted than ever before as he accepted the packaged condition.

The plan I envisioned was constructed on this background.

“The investment will be to the People of the Desert.”


Unlike the confused Kyung-tae, Suyeon who had been blinking her eyes looking down now raised her gaze and nodded.

“Excellent idea.”

Kyung-tae was even more baffled. He didn’t understand why North American natives were being mentioned here. I’d have to explain the plan anyway. It wasn’t as if Suyeon could read my mind. My conception could fail to reach Suyeon’s comprehension, or the reverse could hold true.

“As you know, the People of the Desert’s protected land spans both America and Mexico. That means there is a small minority of tribal members residing in Mexican territory as well. I intend to provide startup capital so they can establish some businesses. The overt goal is securing a route to launder and deliver pesos. Currently, the Diamond casino can only launder dollars.”

The pesos laundering route created this way would confer outstanding competitiveness through the natives’ legal status of sovereignty within the US, connections to the casino association, White Chief’s operational know-how, and exceptionally low fees. The Admiral would never find a better option than me.

Kyung-tae asks,

“Uh, then what’s the other purpose?”

“Consider why I’ve shown favor to the natives so far. When hard times inevitably come, there will be many who need to flee abroad as criminals. The existence of brethren established on Mexican soil will be a great help at such times.”


The ability of the People of the Desert to smuggle Central American illegal immigrants into America was thanks to having some foothold within US territory. For the flow to work in reverse, minimum infrastructure and capital had to be in place within Mexico as well.

“Of course, they wouldn’t be able to stay in Mexico long. It’s practically America’s front yard. So the next step of escape would be… Well. If we don’t have particular misfortune, perhaps at that time we can expect new utility from Admiral Martínez’s sea route.”

“That could connect up too, huh.”

Since the only thing the Admiral wanted was money, he would have no reason to refuse to transport people. And after realizing I had treated him with good faith, he likely wouldn’t price gouge much either. Then I could secure troop resources a bit more safely.

Leaving the admiring Kyung-tae, I turned my gaze to Suyeon.

“Is there any inadequacy in this plan that you see?”

“There is one minor issue.”

“What is it?”

“Currently, the items and volume the Admiral can supply are limited. To keep him sufficiently busy, we effectively have to take on purchasing all the goods he can provide, but as you know, the item of greatest quantity will be 5.56mm NATO ammo. It will surely become malignant stock in the long term.”

Hmm. Though seeming trivial when heard, it was not an insignificant point. The more I raise up the Admiral, the greater amount I would have to handle.

The small caliber high-velocity ammo (5.56mm NATO) Suyeon mentioned was the most universal standard caliber military ammunition in the Western world, and also the type with the highest existing market demand.

However, I already foresaw the paradigm of personal firearms was about to flip. To deal with primitive magic awakeners who still have room to grow stronger, the basic effectiveness of anti-personnel firearms itself would have to increase considerably.

The world was also realizing this fact. El Maestre’s emergence was like a revelation waking up officials. That if they remained idle, there would be grave consequences to pay later. Therefore, the standing of existing mainstream personal firearms on the market had no choice but to rapidly narrow.

‘Not that it matters if awakeners just wander around holding guns barehanded.’

Simply having sturdy and robust muscle didn’t withstand rifle fire. If you became moderately resilient, bullets could no longer penetrate the body, instead causing greater harm as the bullets’ kinetic energy was wholly absorbed internally. Fragmentation would also increase, damaging muscles and organs.

Anyway, as Suyeon said, surplus stocks of small-caliber ammo were already excessive. With limited space and capacity to safely store goods, endlessly increasing inventory of items with assuredly dropping demand was also difficult. Expanding storage capabilities in this business inherently required considerable investment.

In short, though not outright impossible, it meant shouldering greater expenses than expected.

Kyung-tae shrugs.

“There’s no loss in vastly expanding warehouses, right? Just selling off the drones gained this time will net a minimum of 10 million dollars. If things go according to your plan, that level of spending will be nothing.”

The drones mentioned here were the mini reconnaissance drones (PD-100) acquired from the skirmish with the British army. Compared to the upgrades the British army drones would have relative to US military models, selling them to China or Russia could fetch ten times the cost or more. They would make thorough use for purposes like hacking, jamming research, and reverse engineering.

So the 10 million dollars Kyung-tae estimated was truly a minimum profit. Along with the cocaine, they were among the most valuable of the spoils obtained this time.

Suyeon nodded in agreement.

“I’m not opposing either. I just advised that from our position, storage itself is also cost and risk, so please make a decision after considering that extent as well.”

There was the saying more warehouses meant a longer tail. The more facilities and subsidiaries there were to manage, the easier somewhere could make a mistake.

Stroking his chin, Kyung-tae snapped his fingers looking at me.

“Maybe there’s no need to worry so much.”

“What do you mean?”

“Existing demand predictions could be wrong. Like, haven’t a ton of newbies started ocean businesses lately? The pirates.”

“You mean secure supply routes for them?”

Those newcomers didn’t even have a proper avenue yet. They were the sort of customers to avoid soliciting until ‘small businesses’ willing to take risks on their behalf took root.

Besides, abetting the worsening of the seas would likely end up biting my own flesh. However many subordinates engaging in maritime smuggling were trained, a minority coping with the majority had limits. There were also concerns that normalized customs inspections would intensify.

When I furrowed my brow and questioned, Kyung-tae quickly waved his hands.

“Oh no. Of course not. How could we deal with guys we don’t even know where to find? The intel agencies of every country would be fiercely drawn to them. And if the ocean transport environment worsens, the organization’s businesses will be impacted as well…. In many ways, it’s an endeavor where the tail is bigger than the hide, so big we could be crushed to death.”

“Then? Sell to the side that has to deal with pirates?”

“Yeah, the pirates who might end up jumping into the water need something more practical than fancy bulletproof vests or armor. 5.56mm should work well for them. It might be a charming product for private military companies (PMCs) focused on maritime security or island nations where both security and the economy have collapsed nowadays.”

“But isn’t that not a demand relevant to us? 5.56 is going to see a sharp drop in price even in the regular market. PMCs and countries in the Pacific Rim can use the regular market just fine.” (+) [1]

“Uh, right.”


As Kyung-tae said, the number of pirates recently had indeed been rapidly increasing. The lingering depression triggered by the pandemic, combined with the ever-rising primitive magic awakeners, had resulted in a global surge of pirate activity.

With sailboats reaching cruising speeds of 20 knots, swimming 100 kilometers roundtrip to raid and loot, and diving tens of minutes without any gear, awakened pirates were a disaster conventional maritime patrol forces struggled to cope with. How do you catch or kill pirates who abandon boats and disperse beneath the waves when coast guard or naval vessels appear? Rather, not having patrol ships and warships hijacked counted as fortunate. Actual recurring events.

The doping controversies of the swimmers who decorated the Tokyo Olympics’ podiums were the trailer for this situation. Today’s awakeners overwhelmingly surpass the world champions of six months ago. Another six months on and the gap will further widen.

Thus the explosive growth of the maritime security services market provided by private military companies, and island nations in dire economic straits suffering frequent attacks and pillaging, were natural progressions.

However, as already indicated, the resulting demand was unrelated to us.

The massive surplus ammo militaries worldwide would soon start unloading into the civilian market would send small caliber rifle ammo prices plunging to the floor in the formal market. The extent of the plunge would surely be so great that even raw material prices could not be upheld. Because disposal costs for ammunition existed.

‘When stocks pile up excessively, it’s better to just dump them in the ocean. Or use them as bribes.’

Attempting to sell even below normal market prices to legal dealers would be foolish. In the black market, the very act of distributing goods generated risk costs. Merchants unable to discard inventory that should be disposed of, blinded by the numbers on the ledger, could never survive long in this business.

And it wasn’t as if this was an activity intended to necessarily generate profit, with just the spoils from this time amounting to years worth of business budget, as Kyung-tae said…

Suyeon, who had been sporadically taking notes and pondering deeply, raised her head.

“If we look hard enough, purchasers do exist. We could push the volume to the tribal warlords of Papua New Guinea, fueling conflict, or vastly expand avenues into the African region. The bosses in Indonesia we already have channels with are also there. But either direction, at the current point they seem overly tangential tasks warranting organization resources.”

“You’re right.”

I readily agreed. Refusing minor losses to in turn neglect what must be done was foolish.

The task demanding full strength right now was securing submarine manufacturing facilities. We were currently proceeding with building rudimentary production lines based on the acquired plans. Once construction was complete, we’d have to start scouting for sites suitable to erect the facilities, as well as equipment supply routes and material sources.

Until then, the short breather, while distant from true rest, would be best used as a time for recharging by arranging a moderately relaxed schedule. For someone aiming to run a long distance, regulating breathing is important.

What more when the path ahead was fraught with obstacles and ferocious beasts.

  • 1. TLN: It’s not the movie Pacific Rim. It’s the Pacific Rim that comprises the lands around the rim of the Pacific Ocean.
Author's Thoughts

This novel is a work of fiction! While it may incorporate elements inspired by our "real" historical world, including historical events, settings, and cultures, it is important to note that the story and characters are entirely products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or deceased, or actual events is purely coincidental. This work should be enjoyed and interpreted as a work of fiction and not as a representation of historical facts or reality.
Also, if you find some error in translation please do let me know by tagging me (@_dawn24) in our Discord server. Since this series is kinda hard to translate. But I'll try my best to make it at least readable :)
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