“And the reason why you should know that is?” (Erukana)
“I need to know, so I can truly ascertain that you really don’t mean to harm Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Existences called humans are truly bizarre, I have to say. You are even more distrusting than demons. It seems that humans think of other’s words as nothing more than just a collection of lies.” (Erukana)
“I won’t deny that.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Fine, I shall tell you.” (Erukana)
The female formed a little smile. Christopher McLaren’s heart pounded hard again after seeing that smile.
‘This is driving me nuts.’ (Christopher McLaren)
It was only a little smile, yet his heart was racing away; Christopher McLaren felt as if he had reverted back to a 15 year-old boy.
“You see, he and I are….” (Erukana)
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Chief Secretary)
“Yep?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s from Christopher McLaren. He wishes to speak to you right away.” (Chief Secretary)
“That ahjussi? Why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….That I do not know. He’s simply requesting to speak with you urgently, that’s all.” (Chief Secretary)
“H-mm…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Isn’t this a bit annoying?
Why does it feel like things will get super-annoying if I answer that call?
Maybe I shouldn’t even bother with it? (Yi Ji-Hyuk’s inner monologue)
“Tell him I’m not here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I already told him that you’re here.” (Chief Secretary)
“How about telling him that I disappeared while you were answering the call?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!! I can hear your voice!” (Christopher McLaren)
“Dang it, a geezer with a good hearing. Huh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk heard Christopher McLaren’s faint voice coming out from the phone’s speaker and frowned a little.
“But, man. I’ve got lots of things to do here, though….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He shifted his gaze over to the President and smacked his lips. Others saw that meaningful glance and felt their hairs stand up immediately.
This guy, just what was he thinking of doing just now?
They couldn’t even begin to guess what might have happened were it not for the phone call interrupting the proceedings.
Yi Ji-Hyuk strode over unhappily to where the Chief Secretary was and snatched the phone’s receiver away.
“What do you want now?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He yelled out, his voice full of his dissatisfaction.
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk!” (Christopher McLaren)
“Yes, yes, it is he~, Ji-Hyuk of Yi. It is me, so please, keep it short and simple, okay? So, what’s up?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “It seems that you must come to the States right away. To Washington.” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s expression crumpled unsightly.
“Ahjussi! Didn’t you say you’ll be retiring soon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Yes, I did.” (Christopher McLaren)
“So, why haven’t you retired already? Why are you still clinging on like some disgusting goo and tormenting a poor soul like me?! Please, just retire already and stop calling me! Just go home already and enjoy your pastime entertaining your grandkids!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “My grandkids grew up a long time ago already….. No, wait! That’s not important! In any case, you definitely need to come to the United States.” (Christopher McLaren)
“So like, why must I?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I can’t tell you the reason.” (Christopher McLaren)
“You freaking kidding me?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk roared out and ended the call right there and then. He had no need to keep listening to that nonsense.
Unfortunately, the phone began ringing the moment it was disconnected.
“Groan….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk picked the phone up and shouted out again.
“What the hell?! Why are you doing this me?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, this is a serious situation.” (Christopher McLaren)
“I’m in an even more serious situation! Yes, me!! Awww, seriously man!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “You know that I’m not the kind of person to call you and ask you for a favour unless it’s a really serious situation.” (Christopher McLaren)
“No, I don’t know! You kept calling me up for stuff that weren’t all that serious before, you know??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “What do you mean, not all that serious…..?” (Christopher McLaren)
Weren’t the advent of a demon king and the zombie incident not serious enough?
Christopher McLaren had plenty of things to say, but too bad, now wasn’t the time to go into a detailed breakdown of his arguments.
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, I’m putting my honour on the line to ask you for this favour. Something really big has happened this side. Your help is an absolute must.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Like I said, what is this really big incident?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “It’s not something I can tell you.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Awww…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk roughly scratched his head.
He oh-so wanted to shout out ‘What dogsh*t are you talking about’. Before that, though, he couldn’t help but despise his brain that could figure out what was going on in times like this.
“Groooan….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk groaned in pain.
“So, you can’t tell me what it is, but it’s still a serious situation. Am I right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Yes, that’s it!” (Christopher McLaren)
Which could only mean the source, the creature, responsible for this ‘serious situation’ was nearby and watching Christopher McLaren right now.
A migraine began assaulting his head.
“How bad is the situation?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Looks like you’ll need to bring everyone along.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Hah…….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Which meant that it was almost on the level of a demon king crossing over….
“What the hell?! Earth isn’t some three-star restaurant or something, so how come all sorts of punks are showing up here??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And also, why was he the one to take care of this?
If he were to get dragged over there this time, then every time something similar happened in the future, he’d be expected to show up, too.
He definitely didn’t want that.
“America is a superpower, so why don’t you guys take care of it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “M-Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk! This is something only you can solve!” (Christopher McLaren)
“I ain’t running a charity organisation here, so when I don’t wanna go, I’m not going.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Hold on! Don’t hang up! What do you want from us?? Whatever it is, we shall gladly make it happen! Right now, our head of state is being held hostage!” (Christopher McLaren)
“Why should I care about that? Him dying or not has nothing to do with me, so take care of it yourselves.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuuuuk! We will definitely do whatever you want! Please, think about it one more time!” (Christopher McLaren)
“No, hang on, I….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It was then, a hand suddenly interrupted the proceedings by taking the phone’s receiver away from Yi Ji-Hyuk’s ear.
What the hell, who dares to…..?
After confirming who the owner of the hand was, Yi Ji-Hyuk pouted in a slightly unhappy tone of voice.
“And when did you arrive?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Just now. Let me take care of this one for you, so please, take a break.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I’m definitely not going!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, yes. Take a break over there, please.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….Wow, look at him not even bothering to listen to me! Look!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hahaha.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Naturally, the one snatching the phone away was Choi Jung-Hoon.
“Well, we should at least hear what they are offering first, yes? That’s the basics, after all.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“No, hang on! I said!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
At that precise moment, someone else grasped Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hand and pulled him away.
“N-nng?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Here, I brought you Cola. Sit here and drink this.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Hey, you think I’m a Cola addict or something?! Just because there’s some Cola, I’ll be happy?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, so you don’t want? In that case, I’ll just drink it, then.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“No, well, I mean, I will.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Jeong Hae-Min sneaked a giggle so that Yi Ji-Hyuk wouldn’t see it and carefully tugged at his arm.
“Here. Sit over here and drink.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Ng.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Good boy.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
After Jeong Hae-Min oh-so expertly dragged Yi Ji-Hyuk away to a quiet corner, Choi Jung-Hoon quickly brought the phone’s receiver over to his ear.
“Mister McLaren, it’s Choi Jung-Hoon speaking.”
– “Call me Christopher. I won’t keep you for long. Please send Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk over to Washington right away.”
“Isn’t it normal to negotiate the terms first?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “The matters are really urgent this side. Make that truly, seriously urgent!” (Christopher McLaren)
Choi Jung-Hoon let a soft groan escape from his lips.
Christopher McLaren might like to nag to him and the other people every single time, but well, the American could be trusted when it came to compensating them for what was due.
The pride and confidence of knowing that the superpower called America was backing him allowed him to stand up straight, and he was definitely not the type to lower his head to anyone else.
But now, such a person was ignoring all the procedures and prescribed protocols that he stuck to all along to send an urgent SOS. Normally, times like this would be the best opportunity to rip off the other party for all their worth. Because, there was a higher chance of them unreservedly saying yes to whatever the demand was.
“Understood. And what do you expect from us?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “The whole combat force, every single available one. You must bring them all.” (Christopher McLaren)
“We shall do so. I’ll call you again when we’re ready.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
– “Thank you, Mister Choi.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Not at all.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon ended the call there.
“Hul….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk watched this spectacle unfold, and as if he couldn’t believe it, his jaw nearly dropped to the floor.
“What are you doing? He said that he’s willing to do anything, yet you want us to go without agreeing to terms?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s not the right time.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What are you talking about?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s true that you can earn a lot of things when the other party is in great urgency. However, when that urgency is gone, it’ll be replaced by resentment, instead. That is why one shouldn’t try to wrangle with really desperate people about terms and conditions.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….What are you on about now?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Just drink Cola.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“Ng.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk brought the soda can to his lips and began gulping it down, leaving Jeong Hae-Min to quickly and sneakily gesture with her hand at Choi Jung-Hoon, telling him to wrap this up super quick.
‘Since when did she become this good at handling Yi Ji-Hyuk?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
With things like this, she should be awarded with top ‘Yi Ji-Hyuk training licence’ or something.
Seeing this bizarre sight of Yi Ji-Hyuk sitting around drinking Cola so obediently like that, when he was usually beside himself for not being able to cause a scene, made Choi Jung-Hoon feel a wee bit strange in his heart.
“Mister Minister?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yes, speak.” (Defence Minister)
The Defence Minister waited for Choi Jung-Hoon to finish.
“I just noticed that our Director isn’t here with you?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“He went back to his office.” (Defence Minister)
“Pardon? Everyone seems to be here, so how come he went back to his office?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“….Please pretend that you didn’t notice anything.” (Defence Minister)
Choi Jung-Hoon instinctively realised that the matter had something to do with Yi Ji-Hyuk and decided to change the subject. There was no reason for him to dig into the heart of an already-suffering person just to pour more salt on it, now was there?
“It seems that we need to go overseas. Please grant us the permission.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You should directly request Mister President for that. He’s with us right this moment, after all.” (Defence Minister)
Choi Jung-Hoon shifted his gaze over to President Yun Yeong-Min.
‘Well, he is just too unreliable for that.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Both the Defence Minister and the Director of the KSF did their jobs properly, despite being punched around by the sheer weight of their duties as well as Yi Ji-Hyuk’s antics. Without those two, the Republic of Korea and her scant ability user combat force couldn’t have endured until now while suffering so little damage.
Yun Yeong-Min, on the other hand, severely lacked the qualifications to become a nation’s President from Choi Jung-Hoon’s perspective.
The fact that all the feats Yi Ji-Hyuk had achieved were being lauded by the international community but he hadn’t done anything to award the one responsible, was good enough evidence of this man being utterly incompetent in his job.
If it weren’t for the NDF and Defence Ministry working their butts off….
No, more correctly, it was all thanks to Yi Ji-Hyuk not really having material desires or wanting to emigrate to other countries. If another ability user possessed similar powers as him, this person would’ve stopped being a Korean citizen a very long time ago.
Unfortunately, he was still a President elected by the nation’s citizens and had to be treated accordingly. Indeed, no matter how much of an eyesore he was, an elected public official was supposed to represent the opinions and desires of the public, after all.
“Mister President, sir. The Americans have requested us for our aid. It seems that we need to go there, so I’d like you to grant us the permission.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yun Yeong-Min’s brows quivered just then.
Although not a single anger-inducing word was uttered, he still felt unhappy for some reason. It’d be kind of like, the tone of the voice lacked that tangible sense of respect?
No, actually, Yun Yeong-Min hadn’t been feeling too good since a while ago.
His pride had been trampled after dealing with Yi Ji-Hyuk and his I-don’t-care-about-you attitude earlier, but ever since the call from the U.S. came in, he was completely relegated to an unnecessary third wheel here.
Even if one argued that he was not related to the situation, nominally this was the Blue House and this was his personal office.
It was already against the etiquette for the guests to do whatever they want regardless of the presence of the homeowner in a regular household, yet this was the Blue House. And a measly little public servant brazenly dared to start negotiating with a foreign nation right before him? Wasn’t that a serious problem?!
“Did you say your name is Choi Jung-Hoon?” (President)
“Yes, sir. It is.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“The NDF?” (President)
“Yes, I’m the Deputy Director.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yun Yeong-Min then quite openly displayed his displeasure.
“Then, you should realise that I’m your direct superior officer! I’m the President of this nation, as well as your direct commander, yet with what gall did you start a negotiation with another country on your own?” (President)
Choi Jung-Hoon became speechless, then.
He never expected President Yun Yeong-Min to say something that made sense. The words that went completely against the image of the man he held in his head were far, far too correct to argue back.
“Ah, I was simply….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Indeed, even someone like Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t find a suitable excuse.
“It seems that you, my young friend, have become too cocky after swimming around big fish for too long. An ass in a lion’s skin, that’s what this is.” (President)
“My apologies.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You can go now. This is not something you can arbitrarily decide on. I shall not hold you accountable, but do not try to partake in this matter anymore.” (President)
“But, sir….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Did you not hear what I said?” (President)
Choi Jung-Hoon bit his lip, hard.
He was too focused on minding Yi Ji-Hyuk that he forgot to do the most obvious thing.
The most important thing for Yun Yeong-Min was for the authority of the President not to be ignored and breached like this. However, an event that did just that happened right before his face, so it was only obvious that he’d be displeased.
‘What should I do?’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
It was not a big problem for the President to become unhappy with him, but if the aid to the Americans got delayed because of that, now that would indeed become a big problem.
Thinking back to how urgent Christopher McLaren sounded, then every second was precious here.
Too bad, Yun Yeong-Min didn’t look like he was interested in having a conversation with Choi Jung-Hoon right now.
“Uh? Does that mean I can leave, too?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon closed his eyes ever so slightly.
Hell, he’s pretty quick to catch on in situations like this, you know!
Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, nice timing!
< 256. Uh? Does that mean I can leave, too? -1 > Fin.