Chapter 249: Can you get me a phone number? (4)

Rrrrr…..

What a different experience it was, realising that a simple ringing telephone could make a person so nervous.

However, President Yun Yeong-Min would love to decline such an experience. Seriously now, who would enjoy the feeling of his heart being wrung dry like this?

“A-answer it.” (President)

“Do I really have to, sir?” (Secretary)

“Well, then? Are you planning to never answer it?! Answer it, so we can do something about it, at least!!” (President)

“M-mm….”

Everyone’s expressions were deeply dyed in nervous tension.

The secretary on standby next to the phone slowly reached out and grabbed the receiver.

If this thing was a smartphone, it’d been far easier to answer the call; the stocky receiver that still burned the torch of analogue communication seemed to be oppressively weighing down doubly as heavy in the poor secretary’s heart.

Squeeze….

He held the receiver tightly and with pure determination, yanked the device up to place it near his ear.

“Hello, this is the office of the secretary!” (Secretary)

Gulp.

Someone swallowing his saliva resounded out like a thunderclap. A near-unbearable level of tension filled up the Presidential office.

The attention of everyone focused on the secretary’s lips, their ears physically perking up as if to not miss a single sound, their bodies shifting closer into a huddle.

“Y-yes?” (Secretary)

The secretary listened with a grave expression on his face, and eventually, let a lengthy sigh escape from his lips.

“….Ah, yes.” (Secretary)

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He placed the receiver down and ended the call there.

“W-what is it?” (President)

The secretary had this somewhat awkward expression as he made his reply.

“That was from the Foreign Minister. He says he can’t come today due to an illness, so we shouldn’t bother him.” (Secretary)

“Bloody motherf*cking son of a b*tch!!” (President)

President Yun Yeong-Min forgot his stations and spat out a string of expletives.

“S-sir, please. Calm down.” (Secretary)

“M-mmmm!” (President)

The Chief Secretary watched this scene unfold and pinched his thigh to stop himself from laughing out loudly.

This…. was definitely a black comedy.

Here was the sight of South Korea’s most important people in one place sweating bucket loads at the prospect of a single phone call from a barely twenty-something punk.

If this was not a comedy, then what was?

‘And I’m a part of this comedy, too.’ (Chief Secretary)

What a sorrowful story that was.

“Just what the hell are we doing….” (President)

“I wonder about that myself, sir.”

“K-hmm…”

Coughs to clear throats resounded throughout the room as if these men had finally realised that they had been behaving unsightly. Indeed, this was one embarrassing situation overall.

“By the way, why is that man calling us?” (Finance Minister)

“How can anyone know that?”

“Don’t we have anyone else to call and confirm? In a way, he’s the most important person out there, so how can there be no one who might be able to shed some light on what that man is thinking about and what he’s doing right now?” (Finance Minister)

“….There is one person.” (Director of KSF)

“Just one? Did you entrust someone that important to a single individual??” (Finance Minister)

Those words from the Minister of Strategy and Finance prompted the Defence Minister and the KSF’s director to glare at him simultaneously.

“W-what’s wrong?” (Finance Minister)

“You sure have an easy going attitude, don’t you?” (Defence Minister)

“Excuse me?” (Finance Minister)

“Did you say that not knowing what kind of a person Yi Ji-Hyuk is?” (Defence Minister)

“……….”

“Do you have any idea the amount of trouble and hardship we endured while trying to insert spies around him? Just one individual? You better be thankful that at least we have one person!!” (Defence Minister)

“What the…. It’s not as if I said something wrong….” (Finance Minister)

The Defence Minister snorted in derision.

“Look here, Mister Minister.” (Defence Minister)

“Yes, speak.” (Finance Minister)

“Do you honestly think it’s just our government paying an enormous level of attention on Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk and no one else?” (Defence Minister)

“No, I’m sure that that’s not the case.” (Finance Minister)

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“Then, do you know just how many military satellites are following that man around? The Americans have assigned five satellites just for that purpose! Five!” (Defence Minister)

Five satellites??

One person necessitated five of them?

What kind of nonsense was this?

Even the Russian head of state during the Cold War era didn’t necessitate such treatment from his counterpart.

“And then, do you have any idea how high the number of foreign agents trying to infiltrate Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s circle is? What do you think has happened to them so far?” (Defence Minister)

“Is the man named Yi Ji-Hyuk such a dangerous individual??” (Finance Minister)

“Hah! I wouldn’t even have brought that up if they managed to get near him. An ability user named Doh Gah-Yun who acts as his guard swept every single one of them away. They didn’t even know what happened to them.” (Defence Minister)

“……….”

“He’s someone like that, yet his circle of acquaintances is tiny and he doesn’t even bother to interact with someone he’s never met. Under the current circumstances, it’s already a miracle that we do have a contact, so what were you saying earlier? You’re unhappy because there’s only one?” (Defence Minister)

The Minister from Strategy & Finance shut his mouth up.

This was precisely why one should keep his mouth shut when not well versed in the subject matter; he tried to sound smart, only to end up getting embarrassed.

The best course of action was to quickly change the topic.

“Okay, so. Who is that lone contact?” (Finance Minister)

“I’m sure you’ve heard of his name – Choi Jung-Hoon.” (Defence Minister)

“….Choi Jung-Hoon?”

The Finance Minister tilted his head as if this was his first time hearing that name, and naturally, the expression on the Defence Minister’s face crumpled unsightly.

What a tragedy this was, a man in charge of the country’s finance was so slow with acquiring crucial information.

Sure, even if all he did in his job was to act as a figurehead, he should still be aware of important info, now shouldn’t he?

“What’s that man’s job title?” (Finance Minister)

“He’s the Deputy Director of the NDF.” (Defence Minister)

“Not even the Director, but a Deputy?” (Finance Minister)

“You can’t put a non-ability user as the director of the NDF, now can you? The director is Seo Ah-Young, but you can think of Choi Jung-Hoon as the person performing the actual duty of one.” (Defence Minister)

“Oh, I see.” (Finance Minister)

But then, such a man was Yi Ji-Hyuk’s contact? Not his superior?

“But, isn’t that odd? If that person is Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk’s superior, then wouldn’t he just issue an order and be done with it?” (Finance Minister)

“Hah….”

“This guy!”

Did I say something wrong again? The face of the Finance Minister reddened up considerably as lamentations thickly laced with contempt flew in his direction.

“How can a person like him even become a government minister….?”

A rather rude remark slapped him in the face, too – but the Minister couldn’t say anything, as it was his fault for not figuring out the situation sooner. Indeed, he’d become even more of a pariah if he blurted something out in anger, so all he could do for now was to keep his mouth shut.

“Did ability users listen to you when you ordered them around? They are so stubbornly proud that we have to resort to all sorts of methods to suppress them, like with laws or even with stronger ability users!” (Defence Minister)

“….That is true.” (Finance Minister)

“So, how should we go about suppressing Yi Ji-Hyuk, then? It’s already unknown whether we can stop him or not even if we mobilise every single ability user, military and police personnel in the whole country! If he wished for it, he could destroy the Blue House in ten minutes!” (Defence Minister)

“O-only ten minutes?? That fast?” (Finance Minister)

The Defence Minister pounded on his chest in sheer frustration.

“That’s not it! He’ll need ten minutes to get here, and would need only three seconds to destroy the Blue House! No, hang on. Will he even need three seconds?” (Defence Minister)

The Director of the KSF shook his head.

“We’ll be lucky if it takes him three seconds. At least we’d be able to say our prayers, then.” (KSF Director)

“There it is! Yet what were you saying? You want to do what? Issue an order??” (Defence Minister)

The face of the Defence Minister burned in pure rage.

“Do you have any idea just how much we racked our brains whenever we needed him to go overseas? Suuuure, sending out an instruction is easy! Just order ‘Go and convince him’ and it’ll all be taken care of, yes? However, you think it’s a simple matter trying to convince that man? I tried to do it once, and do you know how much I had to grovel before a young punk who wasn’t even on the level of a deputy minister?!” (Defence Minister)

“….P-please, calm down.” (Finance Minister)

“But what did you say? Sit back and issue an order? An ordeeeer???” (Defence Minister)

“I’m sorry.” (Finance Minister)

The Finance Minister lowered his head in shame.

“Try to know more about the situation first before saying something. No, forget that. Try not to say anything and be still. It’ll be less frustrating for me that way.” (Defence Minister)

“Groan….”

“Think about why the Foreign Minister decided to run away for a second, will you? This is no laughing matter!” (Defence Minister)

The atmosphere fell even further.

Yi Ji-Hyuk – he was the source of all this trouble.

It’s true that he had managed to bring glory and honour to South Korea, but from these people’s perspective, he was pretty much an uncontrollable bomb ready to go off at any moment.

Just from reading the analysed data, one would refrain from interacting with that man if they could help it, but after the Foreign Minister was basically ransacked clean the last time, no one wanted to get anywhere near Yi Ji-Hyuk.

If it wasn’t for that, he’d been awarded with medals of honour many times over by now; however, from the President downwards, not one person was confident of facing off against Yi Ji-Hyuk and surviving, so the award ceremonies had been put on an indefinite hold for the time being.

The Minister of the Department of Land, Infrastructure and Transport sneaked a question in, just then.

“And so, have you tried to contact Choi Jung-Hoon yet?” (Transport Minister)

“He’s not picking up the phone.” (Defence Minister)

“It’s not as if they are in cahoots, so how about trying it one more time?” (Transport Minister)

At this subtle pressuring attempt, the Defence Minister quickly shifted his gaze and stared at the Director of KSF.

“Groan….” (KSF Director)

The Director spat out a helpless groan and picked up his smartphone.

Sure, they might be nominally under the Presidency, but the actual management lay with him, so the right person to call Choi Jung-Hoon was none other than himself.

He dialled the phone number and waited… and then, the distinctive tone of the call getting through came out from the speaker.

“Ohhh!”

It’s been connected!

The director’s complexion brightened and he quickly spoke.

“It’s me! Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk is trying to contact the Blue House, so can you tell me why?” (KSF Director)

– “Excuse me?”

“He’s trying to directly call the Office of the President as we speak! I’m telling you to find out what the bloody hell his reason is!” (KSF Director)

– “But, who are you, mister?”

The Director’s expression crumpled in an instant.

Did this guy get heatstroke or something???

“I’m the KSF’s director! Aren’t you Choi Jung-Hoon??”

– “I’m not him, though?”

Not him?

The Director distanced his face away from the phone and confirmed the name on the device’s screen, before tilting his head.

But, the number was for Choi Jung-Hoon?

“Okay, then who the hell are you?” (KSF Director)

– “I’m Yi Ji-Hyuk?”

“…………Eh?” (KSF Director)

– “I said, I’m Yi Ji-Hyuk.”

“Ahhhh, so you’re Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (KSF Director)

The Director chuckled with an awkward expression and shifted his whole head towards the Transport Minister who told him to call Choi Jung-Hoon, to shoot a murderous glare in the fool’s direction. It was the same story with the other Ministers, too.

Being subjected to the killing intent from someone who actually fought in the frontlines made the Transport Minister to sink further into the ground, wanting to disappear down a tiny hole.

How could I have known that?!

Besides all that, you all pressured him to make the call alongside me, but now look at you pretending that never happened! (Transport Minister’s inner monologue)

The Director glared at the Transport Minister for a long time, before speaking again with an awkward smile on his lips.

“Ahh, so it was you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. May I ask, why do you have Mister Choi Jung-Hoon’s phone?” (KSF Director)

– “Just for fun? Why, is that against the law?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Of course not.

If you wanna do that for fun, no one’s gonna stop you. I mean, anyone trying to do that is a stupid b*stard, no? (KSF Director’s inner monologue)

“Ahahaha….. N-no, it’s not. Well, then. I shall try to speak to Choi Jung-Hoon some other time.” (KSF Director)

– “By the way, who did you say you were again, ahjussi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“I’m…. the Director of the KSF.”

– “Oh, is the Director a high position?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Pretty sure I’m the highest in the organisation.” (KSF Director)

– “Ahh, that makes you the boss man. That’s perfect.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

What’s perfect?

It’s like hell for me.

I’ve read all the reports of everything you’ve done so far, you know? So, like, I dearly do not wish to get tangled up with you! So, can you please just hang up the phone now? (KSF Director’s inner monologue)

– “Hey, ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Yes?”

If he was going to say something, why not address the other party as the Director? What the freak was up with ‘ahjussi’? Ahjussi??

A sigh automatically leaked out from the Director’s mouth, but then again, wasn’t the very first rule of the KSF “Do not expect a normal reaction or courtesy from Yi Ji-Hyuk”?

– “Why do you keep annoying me like this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“Excuse me?” (KSF Director)

– “I mean, people are getting killed because of the dang work, but rather than shoring us up with more manpower, you keep bothering me instead, so what gives?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“N-no, hang on a minute. Didn’t we supply you with more men the last time?” (KSF Director)

You ransacked the Foreign Minister and took away all the money and spare manpower, didn’t you?! (KSF Director’s inner monologue)

– “….Ahjussi.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s voice became just a bit more weightier.

Goosebumps broke out all over the Director’s body; he bit into his fist and screamed out almost inaudibly. Others watching this spectacle also clenched their fists tightly from sheer nervousness.

“Y-yes, please speak.” (KSF Director)

Yi Ji-Hyuk’s curt voice leaked out from the phone’s speaker next.

– “Where are you right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“………..”

The burning gazes of everyone landed on the Director.

He felt his mouth dry up from all those piercing gazes. The thick, heavy silent oppression he was subjected under was simply too much.

….What’s this, Mister President? Why are you placing golf clubs on top of the desk? I heard that you often practice golf swings inside your office, so that rumour was all true.

….H-hey, Intelligence Chief, why don’t you take your hand out from inside your jacket now? You, the belt underneath…. That’s your gun holster, right? (KSF Director’s inner monologue)

Unable to win against the outpouring of intense pressure, the Director of KSF raised his very tearful voice.

“I’m at my office.” (KSF Director)

– “I’m coming to see you now.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)

“O-of course…..” (KSF Director)

The call ended there, and the KSF’s Director covered his face.

Mister President walked over and while lightly patting him on the shoulder, spoke in a concerned voice.

“Hurry and head over to your office.” (President)

Trash.

The Human Trash was right over here.

The KSF Director stood up from his seat with no energy whatsoever.

“………”

He wordlessly scanned his vicinity and trudged outside the office.

“Come back to us alive!” (President)

“……Sons of b*tches.” (KSF Director)

Although it seemed that something suspicious had been muttered just now, being the pro politicians that they were, they simply smiled and let him be on his way.

Rrrrr…

Unfortunately, the phone began ringing off the hook again right in that moment.

< 249. Can you get me a phone number? -4 > Fin.

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