Another phone call came in so quickly?
An earthquake erupted in the eyes of everyone present.
Just now, a man who could be called one of the most powerful men in the nation, the director of the KSF, was forced to taste shame and had to slink off to some corner somewhere. These people saw that happen, so the burden they felt right now had increased by a massive amount.
“W-we should answer it, yes?”
“Yes, we should.”
Only the merciless shrill ringing tone echoed endlessly within the eerily silent office.
“H-hurry and answer it. Who knows what he might say if we don’t answer it quickly enough?” (President)
“Groan….” (Chief Secretary)
Although that was the common consensus, everyone present could only stare at the phone with dumbstruck faces.
What a disgraceful sight this was.
To think, the core of the political power that controlled the Republic of Korea got sh*t-scared by a twenty-something year old punk and had to exhibit such an unsightly collective behaviour like this.
“It’s just a d*mn phone call, so what the hell!!” (Transport Minister)
The Transport Minister leisurely stood up from his seat.
Others looked at him with deeply impressed eyes.
‘This guy, maybe he hasn’t learned his lesson yet?’
However, their inner thoughts proved to be slightly different in nature. Whatever the case might have been, they now had someone volunteering to bite the bullet for them, so there was no need to try and change his mind.
The Transport Minister confidently approached the phone, and after taking a deep breath, yanked the receiver up.
“Hello!!” (Transport Minister)
The expression of the Chief Secretary crumpled unsightly.
‘What kind of a government minister answers a phone call like that??’ (Chief Secretary)
One would normally go, ‘This is the office of the secretary’, or even ‘This is the Blue House’….. Indeed, there were a ton of nicer sounding greeting, figuratively speaking, yet what was up with the plain ‘Hello’?
Unfortunately, one couldn’t argue with a Minister, and the call was answered already anyway, so things had to be left as was.
“Hello??” (Transport Minister)
The expression of the Chief Secretary crumpled even more; how the heck did a man like that get picked for a Ministerial position?
Chief Secretary sneaked closer to the phone and switched its speaker function on. He quite literally snatched the receiver away from the flustered Transport Minister and placed it on the table’s surface, before sucking in a deep breath himself.
“This is the Blue House. May I know who is calling?” (Chief Secretary)
– “I told you, I was right!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Bickering could be heard from the other end of the line. The Chief Secretary lightly rubbed his eyes.
Other people might stutter from all the nervousness after calling the Blue House, yet it was as if they were ordering Chinese takeaway or something…. How could anyone be that relaxed??
‘But, then again….’ (Chief Secretary)
When one thought about it, the caller wouldn’t feel nervous at all if he so happened to be Yi Ji-Hyuk himself.
He was fully capable of lounging around in front of the American President, after all. In a world where the haves and have-nots were clearly defined, you could say that Yi Ji-Hyuk was the ultimate ‘have’ of this world.
Indeed, one should be thankful that he wasn’t behaving like one of those abominable entitled ‘haves’ right now.
“Is this Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Chief Secretary)
– “Uh? Do you know me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course I do.
It’s not just ‘know’, though.
You think anyone can stay in their jobs here without knowing who you are? (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
“We’ve been waiting for you, since you informed us earlier that you’ll be giving us a call later. If may I ask, what made you call us, sir?” (Chief Secretary)
Gasps containing praises flew in from the surroundings.
His voice that didn’t lose its clarity and proper enunciation even when facing off against Yi Ji-Hyuk! As expected of the Chief Secretary!!
The person in question could only form a wry smile, though. The whole country was in the doldrums because a bunch of geezers who couldn’t even do something this simple were occupying all the important positions.
– “Ah, fine, whatever. Is the President there now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Of course he was here.
If the dang President wasn’t in the Presidential building, the ‘Blue House’, where else could he possibly be?
Even then, he was supposed to be the leader of one’s nation, so one should at least try to keep some semblance of etiquette when referring to him. Sure, the man elected to be the President didn’t act like one, but his job title was still THE PRESIDENT, so this….
The Chief Secretary shifted his gaze over to the President in question.
However, President Yun Yeong-Min was shaking his head with a strange expression on his face. Judging from his arms flailing about as well, he didn’t seem to be harbouring any thoughts of talking to Yi Ji-Hyuk at all.
‘Huh. Maybe there’s no need for etiquette, after all.’ (Chief Secretary)
And such a man was supposed to be this nation’s president, too.
The Chief Secretary squeezed his eyes shut.
People on the outside might see him as the right hand-man of such an individual. Too bad, being called that was utterly humiliating at this point in time.
‘I’ve chosen the wrong political party.’ (Chief Secretary)
If only he knew that such a guy would be elected as the President, he’d never have signed up with the current political party. The cruel reality created by the citizens’ anxiety and maddened fervour felt so utterly sad right about now.
“N-no, he’s not in at the moment.” (Chief Secretary)
– “When will he be back, then?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m not sure.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Is that so? H-mm, in that case….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What would he say next?
The Chief Secretary tensed up after sensing Yi Ji-Hyuk’s slight hesitation from the way he drifted off at the end of his sentence.
– “Doesn’t the President carry around a smartphone or something?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh?” (Chief Secretary)
This was an unexpected line of attack. Flustered, the Chief Secretary quickly looked at the President, only to see the latter with a smirk.
‘Does he have a plan?’ (Chief Secretary)
The President leisurely pulled out his smartphone, only to hurriedly yank out its battery.
Well, that was a plan, alright.
The Chief Secretary shook his head and spoke.
“He currently isn’t carrying one.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Is there any other way to contact him right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Currently, no.” (Chief Secretary)
The sound of a low sigh came out next.
The Chief Secretary was having a hard time trying to hide his disappointment. What was the point of avoiding him like this? It was only delaying the inevitable after all.
But then again, this was how the current President did his business, anyway. He didn’t want to solve a problem by facing it head on, instead devoting himself to prettying up the stuff right in front of his eyes, so it’d look real nice from the outside.
He was too busy pushing back the most important and sensitive matters, and worked himself to frenzy trying to do things that might result in positive publicity, instead.
If Yi Ji-Hyuk didn’t suddenly appear and take care of all the serious problems facing South Korea, then it didn’t take a bloody genius to figure out what would’ve happened to the country with such a leader at its helm.
In that case, one could legitimately say that Yi Ji-Hyuk was Yun Yeong-Min’s benefactor, but rather than go visit him to say how grateful he was, he was doing his best to avoid even answering a call, instead. What a totally nonsensical situation this was.
– “Well, in that case, I guess it can’t be helped, then. Basically, you don’t know when he’s coming back, and he can’t be contacted, is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….I’m truly sorry about this, but yes, that’s the current situation.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Ah, I see. Well, in that case….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The Chief Secretary breathed a sigh of relief.
Whatever the case might have been, it seemed that he had done it. Sure, the problem of how the next phone call should be dealt with still remained, but for now…
Unfortunately, he took Yi Ji-Hyuk too lightly.
– “I’m coming over there.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The Chief Secretary asked back in pure astonishment.
What on earth was this guy talking about?
– “You don’t know when he’s coming back, and he can’t be contacted, so…. That leaves me with the only option of waiting for him until he decides to show up, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“W-well, yes, that’s true, but….” (Chief Secretary)
– “He’s nominally the President, so sooner or later, he’ll show up back in the Blue House, right? If I wait for him there, he’s bound to show up, so I’ll do just that. Well, is it okay if I just come over there now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
In that moment, the office fell into a state of pure panic.
“N-no, hang on. Let’s all calm down first.” (Chief Secretary)
Now that Yi Ji-Hyuk displayed signs of immediately flying over here, the Chief Secretary had to do his very best to calm the young man down.
Otherwise, it’d all be over.
“I, I’ll do my best to get in touch with him. I mean, there’s no need for you to personally come here and wait while wasting your precious time, don’t you agree? As soon as I get in touch with him, I’ll make sure that he calls you right away.” (Chief Secretary)
Did that work?
– “Eiii, that’s just going to inconvenience you, ahjussi. It’s my matter, so let me take care of that. I’ll be there in a jiffy.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He’s got suuuch good manners.
How could his considerate heart towards another person beat so powerfully and energetically like this?!
By the way, stop being so well behaved in situations like this, god d*mn it!!
You’re in a position to lord over other people, you know!! (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
“No, no! It’s fine! It is my job, after all!” (Chief Secretary)
– “Ohh! Ahjussi, aren’t you a diligent guy. Just like someone that I know over here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Someone over there?
Was he talking about Choi Jung-Hoon?
“Uhm, thank you. I shall try my best to get in touch with Mister President as soon as possible.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Mm, I’ll be thankful if you do that, but….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The ends of Yi Ji-Hyuk’s sentence drifted off again.
Cold sweat drops trickled down the Chief Secretary’s forehead. It felt as if the more he talked, the deeper he was getting sucked in.
Could it be that this guy…. He already knew that the President was here and just saying stuff like this to mess with them?
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, I’m sure you have plenty of things to do.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Mm, nope, I don’t have….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“How can you not have anything to do?!” (Chief Secretary)
“M-my apologies, that just came out of nowhere.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Tsk, tsk.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
That was the biggest mistake he made in his life. Forget ‘trickling’, cold sweat drops were now raining down the Chief Secretary’s whole body.
– “Calm down. I ain’t gonna devour you or something.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
This son of a b*tch, is he really watching us from somewhere? (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
– “I only want to get a phone call in, so I don’t get why people are being so difficult like this. Even that American ahjussi is the same story, too. Did I do something wrong?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, of course not. Never.” (Chief Secretary)
You stupid fool!
How is that the problem of doing ‘something wrong’??
A person next to a live tiger will tense up not because the creature did something wrong!! Just with the tiger being there makes the person uncomfortable and scared, that’s what!!
But then, you make a tiger look like a tame kitten in comparison.
This problem won’t end with finishing me off either, that’s why! (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
– “Mm, well, I do get it now. So, like, the President isn’t in the Blue House, he can’t be contacted, but he’ll call me the first thing after you do get in touch with him. Is that everything?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, it is.” (Chief Secretary)
– “How long will that take?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I’m sure it won’t take that long.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Mm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Following the flow of the conversation, it seemed that this call was coming to an end soon. Although it was nothing more than a temporary measure, hell, what a feat that things got resolved in this manner.
– “By the way…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes?” (Chief Secretary)
– “When I think about it, I’m pretty sure that I don’t reaaally have to talk to the President after all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Excuse me?” (Chief Secretary)
– “Well, it’ll be fine if it’s someone on the high-enough managerial position, you see? For instance, like the Prime Minister.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The Prime Minister shot up from his seat and hurriedly shook both his hands side to side.
– “Orrr, maybe, the Defence Minister?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The Defence Minister sneakily pulled his cap lower to hide his face.
– “If all else fails, the boss of the KSF, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, he left for his own office earlier, though??” (Chief Secretary)
– “Oh, that means the rest is with you right now, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“N-no, that’s a negative! I simply overheard it just now, that’s all.” (Chief Secretary)
– “Ahh, is that so?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s laughter could be heard from the other end of the line.
What could this be?
Why did it feel like this man was completely playing him for a fool right now?
– “In that case, who can I talk to right now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“T-talk, like right now? T-that is….” (Chief Secretary)
The Chief Secretary looked around, only to be greeted by a bunch of men desperately shaking their heads.
What the hell?? What do you want from me, then?! (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
The President shot up from his seat and pointed at the Chief Secretary, instead.
Am I a high-ranking official now?
But, you are always so busy driving me up the wall everyday, aren’t you? Am I a high-ranking whatever when in times like this? Is that it?? (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
“Uhm, I guess that’s me?” (Chief Secretary)
– “And who are you?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s the Chief Secretary, Park Du-Jin.”
– “Mm, this is kinda weird, you know? I don’t feel like tormenting you, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The voice of the mind could be heard, all of a sudden.
But, it sounds like you’ll come here to torment me, anyway?! (Chief Secretary’s inner monologue)
– “Well, in that case, I understand. Get him to call me as soon as you get in touch with him.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“T-thank you very much!” (Chief Secretary)
– “Well, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….And then, the call came to an end.
The Chief Secretary Park Du-Jin spat out a lengthy sigh and sunk deeply into his chair. It felt as if he just shared a call with something that wasn’t a human being; he sensed his energy abandoning him in droves.
“You did well!!” (President)
Almost instantly, the whole office was filled up with an air of relief.
‘What a pathetic bunch of idiots.’ (Chief Secretary)
Even if their opponent was Yi Ji-Hyuk, the shameful sight these men had shown today would forever be etched in the Chief Secretary’s mind.
To think, the heads of this nation were all like that. If a war broke out tomorrow, his intuition said, the shameful sights of the prior wars in the Korean peninsula would be re-enacted in full, without a doubt.
“Hmm, so it’s been taken care of for the time being, then.” (President)
“Even still, another problem might crop up in the future, so shouldn’t we at least find out why he wanted to call here, sir?” (Chief Secretary)
“He’s right, sir. So, we should call that Choi Jung-Hoon person first….”
It was at that moment that the space in front of them began trembling greatly.
It looked as if black ‘smoke’ was billowing out from the space just above the table, before a black mirror-like Gate suddenly revealed itself!
“Is, is it monsters?! Is that a Gate??”
The Chief Secretary closed his eyes. Other folks here didn’t seem to know, but just like himself, the Defence Minister must’ve realised what was going on and lowered his head with a despairing expression on his face.
The Gate opened up, and then…. a sulky face with slightly thuggish eyes peeked out from there.
“Heh, so this is where all of you were.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
We’re so screwed.
Yi Ji-Hyuk had revealed himself in the middle of the Blue House.
< 250. Can you get me a phone number? -5 > Fin.