And now, what’s up with this guy?
Now that a guy who was so hell-bent on making fun of him a few minutes ago started sticking up for him, President Yun Yeong-Min felt a wee bit strange inside.
It was bizarre, sure, but also a bit surprising, too.
He wiped the end of his stinging nose.
– “Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, I was merely trying to help you….” (Christopher McLaren)
“It’s nice that you wanna help, but why are you looking down on someone else’s country in the process??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I never looked down on your country.” (Christopher McLaren)
“But, from what I heard, that’s what you did?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “No, never. I’d never do that.” (Christopher McLaren)
“For real?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Of course. Not just me, but there should be absolutely no one who’d look down on the country you’re a part of, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.”
“Then, why are you threatening the President of another country?? Why?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
*SFX for emotions welling up*
Yun Yeong-Min wiped away the liquid quickly welling up in his eyes.
Do you know how aggrieved I was? (President’s inner monologue)
This whole thing felt as if he was an elementary school kid being bullied by a bunch of middle school kids in the playground, only for his dad to rush over from the distance.
Yes! Yesss! Slap him some more!!
My grudge won’t be satisfied by merely that much! (President’s inner monologue)
“Even if the dude is soft and indecisive! Haven’t done anything worthy of note yet! Even if I can’t understand how he got elected as the President!!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
….Now that I heard those words, don’t they sound a bit…. weird?
He’s siding with me right now, right?
He’s not kicking me down, right? (President’s inner monologue)
“Even if he’s like that, he’s the President of this nation, so the people of his nation should be kicking him down! Tell me, will you feel nice or bad if foreigners did that?!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “But, I’ve not kicked him down….” (Christopher McLaren)
“Of course I understand that you’ll get frustrated out of your mind when talking to this dude! I really do! But!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “I wasn’t like that, though….” (Christopher McLaren)
“Despite all that, he’s the President this country’s people voted for, so an outsider like you shouldn’t be like that! You get what I’m saying??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “Yes, I hear you loud and clear.” (Christopher McLaren)
Yi Ji-Hyuk put the receiver down.
“Someone, take this.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, you were on speaker this whole time?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stood around looking a bit sheepish, prompting Jeong Hae-Min to sneak closer to take the receiver and place it back on the phone.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Let’s head over there.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“N-ng.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The despondent Yi Ji-Hyuk was guided by Jeong Hae-Min towards the corner of the couch. He settled down as she gently pat him on the back.
“Ahjussi, something warm for him, please.” (Jeong Hae-Min)
“…..Yes.” (Chief Secretary)
Having been downgraded to an ahjussi in an instant, the Chief Secretary suddenly kicked the secretary’s leg next to him standing around nonplussed until then.
“Get a move on already!” (Chief Secretary)
“Y-yes sir!” (secretary)
The secretary rushed out of the office, and the Chief Secretary sighed under his breath.
– “Eh…. so….” (Christopher McLaren)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
– “What’s going to happen with the promised support? Seriously, every second counts, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Christopher McLaren)
“H-mm…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk roughly scratched his head and shifted his gaze over to Choi Jeong-Hoon.
“We’ll go and help you.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
– “The important thing is when.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Mister McLaren.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
– “I thought I said it’s fine with Christopher.”
“Very well, Chris. We will be sending help your way. We aren’t idiots who don’t understand that South Korea will be negatively affected if something bad happens to the United States. However, we’d like to resolve the issue of the ‘how’ and the ‘process’ of it ourselves first.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
– “I understand. But, the situation is truly urgent, so I ask you to send help ASAP. I’ll do whatever is in my power to reciprocate the help provided.” (Christopher McLaren)
“Understood. Well, then.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon ended the call and looked Yun Yeong-Min next.
“Mister President.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The latter flinched and looked back at the former.
“W-what’s the matter?” (President)
“We don’t have much time. We need a speedy resolution, sir.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon pulled out some documents and pushed them forward.
“What are these?” (President)
“These are demands that have been prepared in advance.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“But, when did you?” (President)
“I thought that a situation like this one might occur, so I had them drawn up just in case.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yun Yeong-Min began scanning Choi Jeong-Hoon from top to bottom in surprised eyes.
He hadn’t even bugged this office, yet he had such documents prepared in advance? Did that mean he foresaw the events taking place somehow?
‘He’s no ordinary man.’ (President)
Choi Jeong-Hoon, Choi Jeong-Hoon….
He heard that name quite a few times in recent times, but to think, he’d be on this level.
‘Those two didn’t plan this ahead of time, did they?’ (President)
If they had planned for Yi Ji-Hyuk to come and cause a scene of this magnitude, then it made sense for the documents to be drawn up ahead of time. However, if that was true, then shouldn’t the ability to exactly recreate the predicted turn of events be seen as just as incredible?
Whatever the case might have been, it was still an incredible feat.
Yun Yeong-Min powerlessly scanned the documents.
Even though it was only a phone call later, the situation had changed a lot since then.
Christopher McLaren didn’t withdraw his support of Yi Ji-Hyuk, and right up until the last moment, he made clear his backing of the latter. So, as far as the current situation was concerned, it was the same thing as Yi Ji-Hyuk riding on the back of the whale called the United States of America.
Although he helped out Yun Yeong-Min earlier, he was actually stopping the American from pressuring the Korean President, and not the man holding that office.
If the middle ground called America was removed from the equation, then Yi Ji-Hyuk and Yun Yeong-Min would end up in a problematic situation again.
And the former’s proxy just so happened to be none other than Choi Jeong-Hoon.
To sum it all up, Choi Jeong-Hoon was being supported by the two very powerful factions called Yi Ji-Hyuk and the U.S.A as he stood before Yun Yeong-Min right now.
“These terms are a bit….” (President)
“Excuse me?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“No, hang on. These terms are….” (President)
“What were you saying, sir?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yun Yeong-Min gritted his teeth.
You son of a b*tch.
“Y-you, how long do you think you can keep this up, acting so imperious and untouchable??” (President)
Yun Yeong-Min’s final hurrah was met with a calm, unflustered counter from Choi Jeong-Hoon.
“Well, sir. I’m sure it’ll last longer than your tenure at the office.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yun Yeong-Min shot up from his seat.
“Chief Secretary!” (President)
“Sir.” (Chief Secretary)
“Adjust the deal accordingly and sign it.” (President)
“Will that be fine, sir?” (Chief Secretary)
“I’m leaving first!” (President)
“Sir.” (Chief Secretary)
Yun Yeong-Min left the office with a reddened face. The Chief Secretary then settled on the opposite side to Choi Jeong-Hoon.
The latter also sat upright, which was different from when he was dealing with Yun Yeong-Min. It was only natural that one doing the actual work would recognise the other.
Choi Jeong-Hoon had tensed up after sensing a pretty tough force emanating from the other party.
“You’ve put on a pretty entertaining show.” (Chief Secretary)
“Thank you for your compliment.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“It’s fine for a young man to have some tenacity, but you overdid it today. Indeed, it’s wonderful to have a stronger backer. However, do you think that backer will protect you forever? A kite with its string cut is bound to fall into the gutters.” (Chief Secretary)
“M-mm….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon let out a weighty moan.
“However, a kite only exists to go higher, isn’t it, sir? Even if its string will get cut someday, it still needs to climb as high as it can.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“That’s a good way of looking at things. Still, it’d be prudent to remember that higher a kite climbs, the more painful it’ll get when it falls back to the ground.” (Chief Secretary)
“Thank you for your advice. But….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“But?” (Chief Secretary)
“I believe that advice suits you more appropriately, Chief Secretary-nim.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Haha….” (Chief Secretary)
The Chief Secretary spat out a sigh.
He was right when one thought about it.
Well, by casting his lot with Yun Yeong-Min, his own future was pretty easy to see.
“Indeed. That wasn’t something a man on his way down should say to a man on going up.” (Chief Secretary)
He swallowed back his bitter heart and picked up his pen.
“Where should I sign, then?” (Chief Secretary)
“Will it be fine not to peruse them?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“In the end, politics has its limits. You’d get blamed one way or the other, anyway. Being criticised after making it easier for you to move about is for our nation’s benefit, surely.” (Chief Secretary)
Choi Jeong-Hoon showed the Chief Secretary the dotted lines to sign. The latter wrote down the name of the President and stamped the Presidential seal.
“Is that all?” (Chief Secretary)
“Thank you for your cooperation.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Well, then. Do hurry and head out soon. If the American President ends up dead because you were busy tussling with the Korean politicians then we’d all be recorded in the annals of history as a bunch of morons. That’s not something I can accept.” (Chief Secretary)
“Yes, sir.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon looked over at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“It seems that things are more or less sorted on this side.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“No, not yet. There’s still one thing left.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stood up from his spot and shifted his gaze.
Government ministers holding their breaths until then all flinched rather grandly when his gaze landed on them.
“Stop phoning us.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“His phone? I’ll be carrying it around. Every time someone calls, Imma personally go over there and ask for the reason for the phone call, so you better think real carefully before making that call, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“T-that won’t happen.”
“We’ll see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Complexions of the ministers got poorer by the second.
Unfortunately, they all witnessed how Yi Ji-Hyuk treated Yun Yeong-Min just now, so none of them could express their dissatisfaction.
“Let’s go.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He and Choi Jeong-Hoon stood up, prompting Seo Ah-Young and Jeong Hae-Min to stand next to them. (TL: LOL? Since when did Seo Ah-Young come here, too?)
“Eut-cha.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk waved his hand to open up a Gate and entered it. Others lowered their heads once as their goodbyes and entered the dark portal, as well.
Once they were gone, lengthy sighs escaped from the lips of the ministers present.
“What an arrogant, haughty fellow!”
“You’re so right.”
“I know they are important people, but is it fine to let them do whatever they want like that?”
“We need to take drastic measures, I say!”
The Defence Minister clicked his tongue.
“Why didn’t you say that in front of them, then?” (Defence Minister)
“What was that?”
“If you can’t say it to their faces, then let’s not badmouth them in the back, shall we? You’re all being disgraceful!” (Defence Minister)
“Let’s stop there, gentlemen.” (Chief Secretary)
The atmosphere became too heated and the Chief Secretary stepped forward to restore the calmness.
“It’s the same story for you, too! Why didn’t you read that before signing it?? Why?”
The Chief Secretary rubbed his rapidly-blurring vision. Yup, no wonder he was getting fatigued since he had to work with people like these.
“There was no way to resist, sirs. It was either sign quickly or waste time before signing in the end.” (Chief Secretary)
“But how can something like that be true?!”
“In that case, why didn’t you say something!?” (Chief Secretary)
“And also!” (Chief Secretary)
The voices grew louder once more, but the Chief Secretary simply stomped the floor harder.
“Don’t forget, they can always come back anytime. Please behave yourselves accordingly so that you don’t get on his nerves.” (Chief Secretary)
Only then did the Ministers shut their mouths up.
“Well, then.” (Chief Secretary)
As he was leaving the Presidential office, the Chief Secretary squeezed his eyes shut.
‘The balance has tilted.’ (Chief Secretary)
It could be nothing to worry about.
Well, today’s event was nothing more than Yi Ji-Hyuk intruding on the Presidential Office to throw a bit of tantrum, that was all.
Indeed, one could just label today’s incident as just a simple happening.
However, the true implication behind this incident was that the taut balance maintained between Yi Ji-Hyuk and the government had tilted towards the former’s favour quite rapidly.
In a situation where even the President threw his hands up in defeat, who’d be able to control Yi Ji-Hyuk now?
‘Choi Jeong-Hoon, was it?’ (Chief Secretary)
The sole ray of hope laid with the fact that Yi Ji-Hyuk paid attention to that man, and pretended to at least listen to that man’s recommendations.
Not just as some simple observer or adviser, but he was also acting as a sort of handler, as well.
The Chief Secretary did receive a report mentioning this, but since Yi Ji-Hyuk logically had no real reason to listen to Choi Jeong-Hoon, he had dismissed this crucial fact until now.
But he had become the sole hope remaining for this government.
“Looks like I’ll have to have a serious chat with him soon.” (Chief Secretary)
He didn’t think that conciliation would be possible at this juncture. Even from his perspective, maintaining a friendly relationship with Yi Ji-Hyuk had more potential benefits compared to being loyal to the country, after all.
Still, there was definitely value in maintaining a line of communication with someone reasonable in Yi Ji-Hyuk’s circle of acquaintances.
“I’m tired.” (Chief Secretary)
The Chief Secretary laboriously settled down on his own chair.
“You know, that ahjussi. Wasn’t he an okay dude?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Are you talking about the Chief Secretary?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Yes. That Defence Minister also seems to have some backbone and knows where to draw the bottom line, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That did look that way.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“But then, how did that President ahjussi get elected? Looks like it happened while I was not here?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, it was a turbulent time back then.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“With a dude like that in that position, it must be really tough for everyone.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….What can we do.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“How old is the Defence Minister ahjussi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“His age? Why do you ask?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Can’t he like become the President, instead?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“……Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“I was just kidding.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
When you say it, it doesn’t sound like a joke, you fool! (Choi Jeong-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“In any case. Now that we’ve decided to go, let’s hurry.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Christopher said that we should get ready for all possibilities before going there.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Well, then. Get started.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
What, you mean me?
Why am I supposed to get ready as if it’s the most natural thing? (Choi Jeong-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jeong-Hoon could only repeatedly shout his thoughts inwardly as they weren’t allowed to be voiced in public.
< 259. Uh? Does that mean I can leave, too? -4 > Fin.