Sorry about the late posting. This week at work was a bit busier than I expected. Here's the second half of the Dragon's Lair.
"The place is entirely too quiet," Eun-An observed, looking around the empty camp. "And in the middle of a storm?"
"The eye provides opportunity, doesn't it? They may have been out beforehand, though." Thomas motioned to a building. "Take advantage while we can. See if you can find those precious paintings of yours, and I'll look into the piracy."
"Not my precious paintings," Eun-An grumbled. "You make them sound like they are mine. I'm hunting them down because we need the artwork, and stealing something is wrong."
Thomas smirked and entered a building.
The plan had been simple enough - come to the island to find the information about the paintings which had been traced to that point. Thomas, who worked with a governmental agency dealing with piracy, had informed Eun-An of news concerning the paintings when she landed in Korea to visit for a family wedding. "There was a rumor one of my colleagues heard about several large paintings in a couple small pirate ships," Thomas had said while they were catching up over dinner.
When Min Ho suggested his new film, the pieces fell into place.
Some might call it the hand of God, but it seemed a little too perfect, a little too coincidental for everything to fall into their laps.
The building was small with only two rooms. The first room had papers, radios and a few maps. It had three computers, and a large TV as well. "Command center, probably," Eun-An muttered.
The back room had a bed and a bookshelf with a small library. Mostly navigational and history with a couple Korean manga, and a ... "Well, that's unexpected." Eun-An took a photo of the shelf before pulling off a large book of Art History, specifically paintings. Beside it was another book on pricing art.
"Find anything?" Thomas inquired.
"You've checked the others already?"
"Mainly. I have yet to go into one of the larger buildings. It's clear their doing something." He stepped into the room. "What did you find?"
"Two books on paintings and art pricing. Suggests something," Eun-An admitted.
Thomas crossed the room and squatted in front of the bookshelf. "You know, I've been trying to figure something out about this place while I looked around. While there are a lot of storage, I feel it’s a stage setting."
"Like one of Min Ho's films." Eun-An looked around the room. "It's lived in, but where are they keeping the loot they take?"
Thomas snorted. "Do you expect them to have a pirate's cove?"
"Don't they keep their things somewhere? Paintings, jewels? What sort of things are they stealing?"
"Modern day pirates come in many forms. Some just want ready cash; others deal with business items." Thomas rose. "It comes in all forms, kiddo."
Eun-An rolled her eyes. "I'm thirty-three. I wish you'd stop that."
"You'll always be my little sister's best friend - even when we're ninety."
"When I'm ninety, you'll be ninety-three, and my family ages better." Eun-An blew out her breath. "Did you check the lighthouse tower?"
"Just heading that way."
Back outside, the sun shone, but the rain continued in spatters. In the far distance, clouds could be seen. Scrambling up the rocky path to the door, they paused to look around the camp. The smattering of buildings hugged most of the mountain enclosure, but a few were in the center. At one time, it was probably a village.
Inside the watchtower, the area was a little more polished. It had a kitchen, large eating area, and a primary command center with even more equipment. "We'll work from the top down," Thomas suggested.
"If they come back?"
"Make it quick. Two of us can't hold off a lot of pirates who know the territory, anyway."
At the top of the staircase, they found a door leading out onto a balcony overlooking the ocean. Picking up a set of binoculars, Eun-An looked out. "I can see the ships," she said. "Looks like there's three or four of them."
Thomas took another set. "Each probably with a compliment of say ten to fifteen people." He lowered the glasses. "Explains something, though."
"Why there are no young men on the island?"
"The whole island's probably involved to some extent."
"Which means someone is either really good at hiding things or ..."
"Someone in the government is getting something."
"And we stumbled into it." Eun-An set the binoculars back down. "Or were led here." She looked at Thomas. "You don't think ..."
"We've known that there was some piracy going on over here for a little while," Thomas admitted. "We also knew that there were some connections to the mainland, primarily ways for them to clean the money and send off the goods. We're trying to take the lot down."
"How high do you think it goes?"
"To the Blue House, maybe even the presidential office."
On the second floor, they found a suite of rooms with an office space. "Jackpot," Eun-An muttered. "Now, to find their records." She sat in front of a bookshelf, and started to look through the notebooks while Thomas looked through the desk.
"We don't have much time," he reminded her. "Just find what you need, and we'll go."
Looking down at the book she had, Eun-An gasped. "Thomas."
"I think I found your connection."
Thomas knelt beside her. "That can't be. He shouldn't have any connections whatsoever."
"Makes sense." She looked at him. "It also makes us in grave danger, I think. Just why were we brought here? Who knows about what we're doing?"
"Only my superior knows the full story. You?"
"Same. He's in France, though."
"Then what are we going to do about it? Catherine's in danger if she stays."
"We're all in danger if we stay," Eun-An reminded him. "What does Jiwoon have to do with any of this?"
"He's a rising star in the music industry and film," Thomas began. "He also managed to circumnavigate the military requirement."
"How did he do that?"
"Certain high schools require some training, and as such, they allow you to disregard the military conscription because the students have agreed to join for two years afterward. He went through one of those programs."
Eun-An looked at the door. "Does he know why we're here? Beyond what we said?"
Thomas shook his head. "For now, we simply pretend we've just gone up for the film shoot, which we have. Did you find what you needed?"
Eun-An held up a book. "Only another lead. It takes me to Central Asia, but I've got to return to France first." She returned the book after taking another photo and rose. "Let's go before Catherine gets some strange ideas about why we're up here so long."
"Good heavens no! Not her endless matchmaking. The worst part about living here again is all the women she keeps shoving at me."
"Then find yourself a girlfriend, idiot."
"Easier said than done."
Back at the path, Eun-An tapped Thomas' shoulder. "What are we going to tell them?"
"That the island isn't exactly what we're looking for in the film, but it might be a nice place if we can't find anything else."