“A few conditions, you say?” (Hah Dae-Seok)
“Yup.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk simply nodded his head.
Hah Dae-Seok looked at him and a beaming smile bloomed on his face.
This youth was only problematic to deal with because seemingly nothing worked against him. However, if there was something he wanted, then that meant it was possible to control him now.
So, it didn’t matter what those conditions were, they would be fulfilled. The cost of meeting them would be paid for by other countries, anyway.
Those folks were desperate enough to do anything and everything, as long as they weren’t asked to hand their countries over, what with their cities and citizens being destroyed and getting killed right now.
“What conditions are they? Please do speak.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Hah Dae-Seok became overly excited as his voice became louder.
“Is it money, or power? Or maybe, women? Doesn’t matter what those conditions are! If they are something I can make happen, then they will happen for sure.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
After hearing that declaration, Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at Hah Dae-Seok with a bleary face.
“Hey, ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s rather curt voice immediately shut Hah Dae-Seok’s mouth.
“Stop being an eyesore, and can you leave for a bit?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….What?” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Hah Dae-Seok’s dazed eyes landed on Yi Ji-Hyuk.
I’m the Foreign Affairs Minister, yet you want me to go away? Who are you planning to speak to, then? (Hah Dae-Seok’s inner monologue)
It was here that Hah Dae-Seok spotted Choi Jung-Hoon and his unreadable, subtle smile.
Hah Dae-Seok’s entire body trembled imperceptibly.
How dare he!!
How dare he ignore a government Minister and speak to a low-ranking public official like that man, instead?!
Hah Dae-Seok quickly took several deep breaths and calmed himself, before slowly opening his mouth.
“It seems that you don’t know who I am….” (Hah Dae-Seok)
“I’m the Foreign Affairs Minister.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes widened.
“A Minister?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s right. I’m Hah Dae-Seok, Korea’s Foreign Affairs Minister.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sagely nodded his head.
“Wow, so you were a Minister!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hah Dae-Seok did his best to suppress the ends of his lips from arching up. He’d look like a tactless man if he broke into a satisfied grin here, after all.
Indeed, the more others tried to suck up to him, the greater the need to maintain a calm, unmoved face.
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked at Hah Dae-Seok with a bright smile.
“Okay. I got it, so leave, please.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hah Dae-Seok’s eyes trembled even more than before.
I revealed my position as the Foreign Affairs Minister, yet you still want me to leave? (Hah Dae-Seok’s inner monologue)
“Excuse me, but I think you’re mistaken about something here. It’s my job to negotiate with other countries and extract enough benefits from them. In other words, talking to me and not someone else is the fastest and most realistic way to get what you want. Do you understand what I’m saying here?” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head grandly.
“Okay. Get out.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He did hear that Yi Ji-Hyuk was a nutjob, but still…..
While Hah Dae-Seok was seriously wondering about what he needed to do to if he were to deal with this strange lifeform sitting in front of his eyes, Choi Jung-Hoon was spectating on the unfolding event, doing his absolute best not to break out into a fit of laughter.
‘And you wanted me to do something here, didn’t you?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
What could he possibly do here?
Especially to that man!
One would find a way to deal with a person only if said person could be talked to, reasoned with, or if that person could be threatened with the might of the law.
So, what could anyone hope to achieve with someone who couldn’t be talked to, no logic worked, and couldn’t be controlled even in one’s wildest dreams?
Once you were bitten, you’d not be able to talk like that anymore.
Only after you got bitten!!
‘By the way, why am I feeling this cold all of a sudden? Am I coming down with a cold?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Don’t you have any consideration towards your elders??” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s dazed eyes landed on Hah Dae-Seok.
A man who only lived around for 50 years or so was arguing about seniority in front of Yi Ji-Hyuk.
If I pile up all the food I’ve eaten over the years, you’d be buried underneath the mountain, you dumb little hatchling!! (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
What was the point of mentioning it, though?
What a bother it was to explain, and well, even if he did, just how many people would actually understand, anyway?
Sensing that Yi Ji-Hyuk was progressively getting more irritated, Choi Jung-Hoon quickly stepped in to end this situation.
“Now, now. Mister Minister? For the time being, please calm down and….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“How can I calm down in this situation?!” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Choi Jung-Hoon spoke to Hah Dae-Seok in a quiet voice.
“Mister Minister.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Don’t you understand what will happen once you manage to sour the relationship with this person?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You should realise that comparing your importance to Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s is an utterly laughable notion in the eyes of the Korean government.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Hah Dae-Seok began gritting his teeth at this incredibly rude and direct manner of speech.
These bunch of abominable ability users.
To think, they would simply leapfrog his position, the one he worked his a*s off to get to, with nothing but some special abilities they awakened through some random coincidence.
He felt embittered and angry, but he still had to acknowledge the reality of the current situation.
Looking at it from a cool-headed, logical perspective, then this man named Yi Ji-Hyuk was an even more important existence than the President of Korea.
Indeed, he was not someone a single Minister could do anything about.
Hah Dae-Seok managed to control his rough breathing and slowly opened his mouth.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
When Hah Sae-Seok called his name, Yi Ji-Hyuk turned his head towards him at a crooked angle.
‘….At least address other people properly, will ya?!’ (Hah Dae-Seok)
“Allow me to earnestly appeal to you one more time. I am South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hah Dae-Seok.”
“I don’t know what it is that you want from us, but it is my role to determine whether that is possible or not. So, how about speaking directly to me?” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Yi Ji-Hyuk spat out a groan.
“Do you honestly think that there is something I want from you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I’m not sure.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
“Whatever the case may be, the government can’t do much for me anyways. I don’t need much to begin with. Instead, it’s only you people who want something from me, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….That is indeed so.” (Hah Dae-Seok)
“That is why, I don’t have anything to say to you, you see? Stop trying to butt in and score big for yourself, and just wait outside, mmkay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Hah Dae-Seok sighed weakly and stood up from his chair.
Why should he be subjected to this sort of treatment just for the sake of a chance to wield more wealth and enjoy greater fame?
‘….Looks like it’s about time that I retire, no?’ (Hah Dae-Seok)
Hah Dae-Seok’s shoulders drooped low as he trudged out through the door.
Choi Jung-Hoon’s pitying eyes only served to make him feel even worse than before.
After sending away someone supposedly important, and making sure the door was closed shut, Yi Ji-Hyuk began staring at Choi Jung-Hoon with ‘gentle’ eyes.
“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t even utter out a reply, only his body quaked in the spot.
What the hell is up with that ‘gentle’ voice of yours?!
You’ve never, ever spoken in that tone before, you know!
Just what are you planning to tell me that you have to say it in such a voice?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“Mister Choi Jung-Hoon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon answered with great difficulty, feeling rather a lot like a cow being dragged to an abattoir.
This strange and inexplicable fear mushroomed in his heart.
“Going to other countries to help them out, is it a really important thing to do?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
How should Choi Jung-Hoon go about answering that here?
Why did it feel like his life would come to an abrupt end if he answered ‘wrongly’?
“Yes, of course.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“But, why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“First of all, the profit we can earn from just one trip overseas will be enormous. Also, letting other countries know that we possess the capabilities to aid our allied nations at any moment is critically important as well.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Such a thing would prove to be invaluable in international politics. The reason why America remained as a global superpower and maintained a certain status quo was not simply because they are strong, but also because their reserve power alone would enable them to enter conflicts occurring in other regions.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“And so, if we were able to aid other nations during this Gate crisis, the international reputation of Korea would reach unprecedented heights, and the benefits in terms of both tangible and intangible will be difficult to quantify because of their sheer size.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“But, at the end of the day, those are benefits for the country, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon nodded his head.
“However, the benefits of one’s nation will also benefit individuals. Only when the nation has strength to back itself would your life become far more convenient, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk nodded his head this time.
“In that case, if you were in my shoes, you’d not say anything anymore and go overseas right away?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Even if your life was on the line?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
You think your life will be endangered from just that much?! Besides, if it got really dangerous, you’d be first to turn tail and run away, anyway!! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Of course, he couldn’t say these words out aloud.
“Of course.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Are you trying to say here that the nation’s interests trumps the lives of individuals? Waaait, isn’t that like, a really dangerous ideology?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s not what I’m saying. If there is a danger to my well-being, even I wouldn’t do it. However, it’s not going to be that dangerous, no?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, it can be that dangerous, right? Don’t you think so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What did he want to say here that Yi Ji-Hyuk was coming out this directly?
Choi Jung-Hoon felt like he was getting mired deeper and deeper in a quagmire, but he was not in a position to reel himself out at the moment.
“Sure… I guess that’s possible.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Sooo, like, if you were in my shoes, you will sacrifice yourself if it’s for the good of the nation, that’s what you’re saying? Right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….How did you even arrive to that conclusion??” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He just said that wasn’t the case, so how come the conclusion ended up that way??
“If you’re planning to force someone into a death trap, you should also be prepared to meet the consequences, right? Don’t you think so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You mean, you as in me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Is there someone else in this room?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Just when did I ever force you into a death tra…..” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes became a level colder.
“Denying it now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It’s not true….
What will happen to me right now if I say that never happened? (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
After calculating all the angles and possibilities, Choi Jung-Hoon quickly figured out the best answer he could come up with in this situation.
“I never intended to do that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Aigoo~, you’re trying to kill a person without even intending to do so. This guy! What, just by saying that it wasn’t your intention, you think the dead people will suddenly revive themselves?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….And just who the heck died here, you d*mn son of a b*tch?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon spat out a lengthy groan and asked.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Just what is it that you want?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
How astute of him to get the point even when I beat around the bush like that?
“This world is all about mutual benefits.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I agree.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“If I negotiate with you, and I end up going overseas, then surely, there will be some kind of benefits for you too, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, of course.”
It’d be enormous, actually.
It wouldn’t only be financial benefits, either.
The mere fact that he could more or less control Yi Ji-Hyuk meant that he’d be able to wield even more influence than a country’s President.
Indeed, Yi Ji-Hyuk was responsible for bringing forward into reality the ambitious dream Choi Jung-Hoon had when creating this NDF by 20 years early.
‘I’m definitely grateful for that part, that’s for sure.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“That is why….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m sure you can do me this one favour, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s favour, was it?
The inside of Choi Jung-Hoon’s head blanked out.
He couldn’t even begin to fathom how huge the scale of that favour could be, nor how selfish it could also be, too.
Not only that….
A favour? Really?
Was this guy someone who’d ask anyone for a favour? Seriously, wasn’t he someone who could pretty much do everything by himself already?
“W, what favour is that?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon asked, even though he was shivering from fear and anxiety.
“Well, it’s nothing major, really. It’s really simple, you see. Can you free up one day in your schedule?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Sounds very simple, but at the same time, it’s a difficult thing to do.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
It already felt like his work would become twice as hectic simply by taking one hour off, yet he was being asked to take a whole day off, instead….
“What am I supposed to do during that day off?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You’ll be going to a theme park.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“…..Eh? You mean, you and I?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“No, no no. No, with my family, actually.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“So, uh, you, your family, and me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Nope. Just my family.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Just what the hell is inside the head of this son of a b*tch??
Choi Jung-Hoon tilted his head this way and that, unable to figure out heads nor tails from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s demand.
“Such a thing shouldn’t be too difficult, but….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
What was this?
What was this creepy sensation?
“….Do I really have to do it?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked as if he was pondering something.
“Well, sure, it feels like the… sufficient balance isn’t being met here, so I guess I’ll have to give you something in return as well.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yeah, what a nice timing that ahjussi decided to show up today. Is there anything you want?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Things I want?
Do I even need to say it?
“Manpower, sufficient funds, time, and authority.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The most important four!
Yi Ji-Hyuk stood up and smiled refreshingly.
“Don’t forget to honour your promise.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk said some cryptic words and left the conference room, before finding the awkwardly-waiting Hah Dae-Seok in the corridor and approached him. Then, they began conversing.
However, Hah Da-Seok entered the conference room with a pale face less than five minutes later and asked Choi Jung-Hoon while wiping cold sweat off his forehead.
“What is it that you want?” (Hah Dae-Seok)
“Pardon me?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Just tell me! What do you need from us? Hurry!” (Hah Dae-Seok)
Choi Jung-Hoon rubbed his forehead after seeing how anxious and scared Hah Dae-Seok was.
‘Just what did he say to make a Minister act like this?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon once more realised how terrifying the existence called Yi Ji-Hyuk could be.
< 134, You’re her oppa. Aren’t you? -4 > Fin.