While Berengar was ravaging the Princess of the Anangpur Empire, another Princess had entered into the jurisdiction of German customs. Sitting in an office in the city of Trieste, Yi Min-Ah was waiting patiently for the arrival of the German Intelligence officers who intended to interrogate her on her escape from Japan.
Since first stepping foot into the port city, Min-ah was shocked by what she had seen. The city of Heian-kyō had just received electricity not long ago. And yet it had to be redesigned from the ground up to properly make use of this critical technology. Thus, aside from some critical infrastructure, electricity was practically nonexistent.
However, this port city had street lights on every corner, along with traffic signals and all other forms of technological marvels. Busses roamed the streets, along with other automobiles belonging to the police, the fire department, and the hospitals. The difference between the Japanese capital and this port city was staggering, to say the least.
Despite this shocking revelation, Min-ah did not have long to witness the overwhelming prowess of the Reich, as she was funneled into customs upon arrival and escorted to the nearest police station, where she sat in custody, waiting for her interrogator to arrive.
Hours passed before a young blonde woman entered the room, dressed in a military style uniform. She had a folder in one hand and a mug of coffee in another. Without introducing herself, the woman sat down and opened the folder, where she sipped on her beverage for several moments in silence before finally speaking.
"Yi Min-ah, also known by the alias of Hwa Min-Ah. Known collaborator with the Japanese Empire. Lead of Empress Itami's chemistry department, and third Princess of the Joseon Dynasty. During Empress Itami's diplomatic visit to the German Embassy within the city of Beijing, she curiously brought you with her.
However, rather than accompany your empress to visit the ambassador, you fled from your security detail and approached the Ming Palace, requesting asylum. Empress Itami was furious upon learning about your defection, and immediately requested that the Ming Emperor hand you over to face justice for your betrayal.
Despite the myriad of threats which the Japanese Empress made in order to get you back, Zhu Wudi did not budge, and instead shipped you off to the Reich, like he has done to all other Japanese defectors.
Immigration and customs saw fit to permit your entry into the country. However, it is my job to interrogate you, and find out your true motives. So let's start with this: why did you defect from the Japanese Empire? As far as I'm aware, you had an incredibly prestigious position within Empress Itami's inner circle."
Min-ah sat back in her chair with a noble bearing. She was, after all, a princess, and because of this, she spoke with a sense of authority as she clearly and calmly stated her reason for defection.
"Few people know this, but Empress Itami has become increasingly unstable. She locks herself in her room for hours a day, drinking a dangerous amount of sake. While speaking to her pillow as if it were a living human being.
Since her mental condition is clearly deteriorating at a rapid rate. I now believe she is no longer capable of contending with the Reich in the event of an armed conflict. I merely used the first given opportunity to flee from her control, and present myself, along with my talents to the side that I know will emerge victorious.
I was never loyal to Empress Itami or her Empire. I simply made the best of a bad situation to give myself the most advantages. Since I am no longer welcome in my homeland, or in the country which adopted me. I felt the only place I could live a half-decent life was in the Reich. Thus, when Empress Itami told me to accompany her to Beijing, I had plotted from the start to defect to the Reich."
Though Itami had told Min-Ah to present herself as a spy, which her father had embedded in the ranks of the Japanese government. The Korean beauty felt as if this could be easily disproven. After all, it took one telegram from Berengar to her father to determine if this was true or not. Thus, on a whim, she had switched her cover to that of a shameless opportunist. Something she felt was far more believable.
As for the woman interrogating her, she furrowed her brows at the mention of Itami's mental state. This was news to German Intelligence, one they could not easily verify. Especially if it was a closely kept secret that did not leave the Japanese Palace. However, if true, it could prove useful in counter-propaganda efforts within the Japanese mainland.
The German agent considered Min-Ah's claims about being an opportunist. It made logical sense. She was a Korean Princess who had been abandoned by her family and forced to live in the south. When the Japanese invaded the region, she was among the first to present herself to Empress Itami. The only reason someone would do such a thing is if they were an opportunist, looking to latch onto the new power and gain the most benefits by doing so.
Upon judging Min-Ah's expressions, there did not appear to be a hint of deceit within them. Thus, the interrogator was somewhat convinced by the Korean Princess's statements. Which caused her to ask the next question on her mind.
"Assuming what you say is correct, what intelligence can you provide the Reich regarding the Japanese Government, its military capabilities, as well as the extent of chemical knowledge they possess?
No foreigner gains entry into the borders of the German Empire without providing some form of compensation. There is no free lunch in this world, and if you want your request for asylum to be approved, you need to provide us with something tangible."
Min-Ah reflected on what Itami had told her and was careful in the way she responded to this question. She could not easily reveal information that would compromise the Japanese Empire, but she also needed to provide something that would allow her to pass the test the Germans had set for her. Thus, she started her response with a list of viable excuses.
"I'm merely a chemist, so I can not give you information regarding the engineering projects that the Japanese Empire is undertaking. Nor can I inform you about the inner workings of Japanese politics more so than anyone else.
What I can tell you about the Japanese Empire is that it's an absolute military dictatorship, with the Empress at the top. The upper echelons of Itami's military run every facet of society. Many of these men and women, if not all of them, are members of the old Samurai clans, and as a result, there is still a strong sense of feudalism, despite their efforts to industrialize.
The only difference is that the peasants who used to work the fields are now in the factories producing military equipment. While there are still many peasant families growing crops, with the introduction of modern machinery, their numbers have dwindled.
As far as chemical advances go, almost everything we create is geared towards the advancing of the military industrial complex. With your level of technology, I would not doubt that you already have access to everything that we create. If you want a list of what me and my team were working on prior to my defection, I can give it to you. Though I doubt it will be of any use to you."
The interrogated nodded her head in understanding before signing away her name on a document. After doing so, she gave Min-ah one simple command before departing from the room.
"After I leave this office, I will have someone come in with a pen and some papers. I want you to write down every chemical equation that you can think of that your team has worked on. Once you are finished, you will be transferred to the city of Kufstein, where housing will be provided for you within the Little Kyoto district.
As for your living expenses, you will be required to get a job like everyone else. Naturally, due to the sensitive nature of your previous position, you will not be allowed employment in the chemical industry for a minimum of two years. So I suggest finding work at one of the local businesses in Little Kyoto. If there is nothing else you need me for, then I will be leaving. Farewell, and welcome to the German Empire..."
After saying this, the interrogator departed. Leaving Min-Ah alone with her thoughts. Though she had successfully convinced the German authorities to allow her entry into the Reich, she was immediately presented with several issues that impeded her immediate goals.
Most notable was the fact that she would have to live like a commoner, working some menial job in order to pay for her living expenses. This made it extremely difficult for her to ever come in contact with the Kaiser.
Which Min-ah would be required to do if she wanted to seduce the man so that she could learn his secrets. She knew that if she tried to force an audience with Berengar, it would arouse suspicion and could easily blow her cover. The consequences of which would be terrifying.
For now, the only thing that the Korean Princess could do was play her role and wait for an opportunity to show herself. Thus, she could only sigh in defeat as she waited for her escort to arrive, so that she could start her new life within the borders of the German Empire.
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