(TL: 300th chapter ahoy!! Wow. We’ve come pretty far, eh.)
“In any case, do not write any articles. I’m warning you. I’d like to maintain cordial relationships with you folks if we can.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon shot the reporters a threatening glare for one last time and tried to climb into the driver’s seat.
However, a voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Yes?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Let’s say we won’t report on today’s matter. But then, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk said he’d accept interviews, so now we wish to know. Are the NDF in the same position as him?”
“M-mm….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon frowned slightly.
The normal NDF position would be this – they wouldn’t like Yi Ji-Hyuk to be exposed to the ‘outside world’, as it were. Not just the NDF, though – anyone who knew Yi Ji-Hyuk personally, they wouldn’t want him to be in the spotlight of the nation’s citizens.
“….We don’t have any means to stop him.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
The problem was, they had no methods to dissuade Yi Ji-Hyuk if he wanted to step into the light.
The agents of the NDF weren’t like the NIS people tasked with protecting the top national secret so if the man wanted to, say, do interviews or shoot a reality TV show, then they couldn’t do anything to stop him.
“In that case, we can take that as a go-ahead, then?”
Choi Jeong-Hoon took a bit of time before answering them.
“As you heard it yourselves….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“His mouth won’t start moving unless your greasing is a sizeable one. Does your company have a lot of budget to spare?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“He makes a ton of money, so you’ll have to give him just as much. So, consider it carefully before you act, please.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
With those words, Choi Jeong-Hoon climbed into the car and shut the door close. He turned the ignition on, and the reporters parted ways to open up a path.
‘What a mess this was.’ (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon felt a bit peeved off. Things were already so hectic, so why….
“By the way, where did you send the Party Leader to?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Pardon?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was playing a game on the phone, the back of the seat reclined all the way back. His reply was as disinterested as one could get.
“You sent him away in a Gate, didn’t you?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Mm, where was it again? It’s not somewhere dangerous, at least not to his life. I’ll just let him go through a bit of hell for a few days before releasing him.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“He’s not going to suffer any psychological trauma, yes? He’s a rather important person in Korea, you know.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“That sly raccoon was?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“A raccoon is an animal with surprisingly many uses.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked softly.
“Right. Such men are the ‘necessary evil’, aren’t they?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
It had always been like this. Didn’t matter which kingdom, it felt as if every bad thing happening was the fault of the vicious, cruel politician, but when that bad man was removed from the picture, a huge void would inevitably appear in the administration of the government.
“Whether you’re vicious or sneaky, you have to be smart first.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“You’re right.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon willingly agreed with Yi Ji-Hyuk’s opinion.
“By the way, aren’t we late?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I was thinking the same….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
With an excellent timing, Choi Jeong-Hoon’s phone began ringing loudly. He quickly answered it.
“It’s Choi Jeong-Hoon speaking. Ah, director, sir.”
A sharp and ear-piercing yell exploded out from the phone’s speaker. Choi Jeong-Hoon simply distanced the device away from his ear and concentrated on driving the car, and once the noise from the speaker calmed down, he spoke to the phone again.
“We’ll be there shortly.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
He ended the call without bothering to wait for the reply.
“Hul, is that okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Yes, well….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon grinned.
“I’m sure they don’t have any leeway to remember and get angry at a small thing like this.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“When will they arrive?!” (Yun Yeong-Min)
The President of the country, Yun Yeong-Min, desperately urged the general director of the KSF, Bae Jeong-Guk. The latter man could only lower his head.
“They… are on their way, sir.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“It’s almost been one hour since I first heard they are on their way! Just how far away is the NDF that they are taking this long to get here?? Didn’t they just show up here with a Gate or whatever back then?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yi Ji-Hyuk, the man who wouldn’t show up when you needed him, and always showed up when you didn’t want him to!
Why are you asking me when you already know that? (Bae Jeong-Guk’s inner monologue)
“They should arrive soon.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“H-mm….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min shook his head in dissatisfaction.
“Mister President, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
The Chief Secretary, Park Du-Jin quietly called out to him, and Yun Yeong-Min turned his head.
“Sir, it’s not important when they arrive. If we don’t discuss the methods to convince him right now, there will be no meaning in us holding this meeting.” (Park Du-Jin)
“I guess you’re right.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Park Du-Jin spoke of truth.
“Minister of Defense.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes, sir.” (Defense Minister)
“So, are we now set on the option of dispatching?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Well, we don’t have a choice, now do we, sir?” (Defense Minister)
“What is the exact request made by the North Koreans?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“That is…. What they want is just Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk himself. When asked if they wanted additional ability users from our side, they flatly refused, sir.” (Defense Minister)
“H-mm….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min swallowed back his groan.
‘At this rate….’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
One could say that the North Koreans wanting Yi Ji-Hyuk was a positive thing for both South Korea and its President, Yun Yeong-Min. However, them wanting only Yi Ji-Hyuk and no one else was not good news at all.
Depending on how you looked at it, there was a possibility that this move could be seen as the North reaching out to the individual named Yi Ji-Hyuk and not to the South Korean government.
Some people might be wondering what the difference was, but at least in Yun Yeong-Min’s view, they was a big difference.
Both the NDF and the KSF were created by the government. Meaning, they were this nation’s assets. However, Yi Ji-Hyuk was an existence that simply fell from the heavens one day.
“If it can be helped, it’d be better for some to be dispatched alongside him.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
The director of the KSF, Bae Jeong-Guk, nodded his head.
“I agree, sir. We need to make sure that happens.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Ohh!” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“I don’t care about anything else, but when considering what might happen if we send Yi Ji-Hyuk alone, we need to attach as many guards as we can on him.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Guards??” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Since when did Yi Ji-Hyuk need protection?
“To protect the North, of course.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Ah….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min ended up nodding his head.
He had never dreamed of a day when he’d agree with the opinion of protecting the North. Considering that Yun Yeong-Min was a conservative leaning towards radical ideology, this event should be seen as heaven-changing.
“So, then. How will we convince Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Everyone suddenly became mute.
Every single minister had gathered – with the sole exception of the Foreign Affairs – yet no one could easily open their mouths.
“None of you have any ideas?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min stared at his silent ministers and shook his head helplessly.
‘Why are you asking us that?’ (Land and Transport Minister)
Minister of Land and Transport clicked his tongue inwardly.
This wasn’t some crappy, stuffy old-school politics, so why did every Minister get summoned to this place to discuss the matter about dispatching an ability user to North Korea? What could the Ministry of Land and Transport do here, realistically speaking? Line the road north with flower petals or something??
Not just him, though, even the Minister of Family Affairs had been summoned here too, a rather poor expression etched on her face.
‘No, hang on. That lady always looks like that, doesn’t she?’ (Land and Transport Minister)
“First of all, isn’t that a problem that someone closest to Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk should solve? Meaning, people from either the Defense Ministry or the KSF, sir. For us, the last time was our first time meeting him face to face, so even if you tell us to come up with an idea….” (Land and Transport Minister)
Yun Yeong-Min found those words agreeable and shifted his gaze over to Bae Jeong-Guk.
“….My apologies.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“Don’t apologise, and come up with an idea! What are we all doing when we’re the ones asking him to come here??” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“It’s because that man Yi Ji-Hyuk is just too unpredictable…. In any case, seeing that he’s on his way here, it’s likely that he could be intending to go to North Korea, sir.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
“….Even an elementary school kid can tell you that.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min shook his head again.
No wonder the administration of the country was in the pits, what with these sorts of people running the government.
There was only one person he could trust in this situation.
“Chief Secretary.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Yes, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
“What should we do in this situation?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“M-mm….” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin scratched his head.
“According to everything we know about Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, he’s interested in only two things.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Two?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“It’s his family and money.” (Park Du-Jin)
Very generic pattern, that.
“His attachment to his family is considerable. During the last American zombie incident, he was only persuaded to act with the promise of the underground bunker to keep his family safe. That’s how much he cares about them. So, the problem now would be with money….” (Park Du-Jin)
“You think he’ll ask for a lot?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Besides that….” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin shook his head rapidly.
“Sure, that man seems to like money, but we don’t know why, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
“What do you mean?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“He has been amassing a sizeable wealth, but hasn’t spend a dime, figuratively speaking, sir. His bank account is quickly filling up with money, yet he hasn’t withdrawn any so far.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Also, his lifestyle can be described as very economical. The total amount of money he spent so far only amounts to buying some clothes and bags for his family online. As for himself, it’s just buying a handful of tracksuits and snacks from the local convenience store.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Is he a bum?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“…..His spending pattern shows no major difference, either. He doesn’t even own a car.” (Park Du-Jin)
“T-then, why does such a man demands money as compensation?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“I can’t be sure, sir….” (Park Du-Jin)
Park Du-Jin could only feel despair at the reality of having no answers.
It was as if he was amassing wealth just because. If you logically dissected it, though, him spending all the money he already possessed would be a tall order. Even if he spent them for the rest of his life.
“H-mm…” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min shook his head again.
“Doesn’t that mean he can’t be controlled that way either?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
But, it’s been like this always.
Since when did we control Yi Ji-Hyuk that you keep saying control this and control that? (Park Du-Jin’s inner monologue)
“For now, how about we just ask him for a favour….?” (Park Du-Jin)
“A favour, is it….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Everyone present in this room could be considered the nation of South Korea itself. Them leading the country was secondary – these people were the representatives of the will of this nation’s people.
And such folks now had to politely request someone.
“How laughable we have become.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“It’ll still be recorded as a win, sir.” (Park Du-Jin)
“I’m sure it will.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Lowering one’s head for a little while wasn’t a problem at all.
“Something like shame can be endured. That’s all.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min spoke heroically. But then, Bae Jeong-Guk decided to rain on his parade.
“But, sir… Our problem is that he’s not someone who’d say yes just because we asked him for a favour.” (Bae Jeong-Guk)
There was only one thing circulating in Yun Yeong-Min’s head just then.
‘So? What do you want me to do about it??’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
They had summoned the person, yet none could think of a solution.
Just how should they persuade Yi Ji-Hyuk and dispatch him to North Korea?
It was then, an urgent voice suddenly entered the room.
“M-Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk has arrived.”
Nervous tension instantly descended on the room.
“M-mm….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Even Yun Yeong-Min had to pull out a handkerchief to dab away the sweat trickling down his forehead. The moment he realised that Yi Ji-Hyuk had come, he couldn’t help but recall the hellish experience from the last time and it became hard to control his consciousness.
“Sir, please place your hand inside your pockets.” (Park Du-Jin)
“Y-yes, I should.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min quickly shoved his slightly-trembling hands inside his trouser pockets and stared intensely at the door.
The door was roughly pushed open, and a young man wearing a set of blue tracksuits and carrying a cantankerous expression barged in.
‘Your clothes, at least…..’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
Who would have thought that the day they see a tracksuits-wearing punk waltz around in the Blue House was today?
Sure, the manufacturer of the tracksuits would love to take a couple of pictures for publicity – no, make that lots of them – but from the perspectives of the nation’s President, it was like watching the dignity of the Blue House crack and shatter into a million pieces.
‘And also, why can’t you wear proper shoes?!’ (Yun Yeong-Min)
Anything would’ve been fine, even sneakers.
But then, wasn’t a pair of flip flops just too d*mn much??
Yun Yeong-Min squeezed his eyes shut. If he decided to start tackling issues now, then he’d be stuck with the problem of there being way too many to complain about. Indeed, the best thing he could do with anything related to Yi Ji-Hyuk was to pretend that he didn’t see or hear anything.
“Been a while.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk greeted him and settled down on the couch on the opposite side of the President.
….As if this was his own living room.
“I want Cola.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It’s been prepared.” (Park Du-Jin)
The second Yi Ji-Hyuk asked for his beverage, the secretaries on standby outside the door quickly entered with a tray carrying a Cola bottle.
“Ohh, as expected.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sent a wink at Park Du-Jin.
“K-h-hmm.” (Yun Yeong-Min)
In order to seize the initiative back, Yun Yeong-Min opened his mouth first.
“The reason why we requested for your presence today is because…. We have an important favour to ask of you. And that is….” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“You want me to go to North Korea, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
While Yun Yeong-Min closed his mouth, Yi Ji-Hyuk leisurely popped the lid open and took several large gulps, before slamming the empty bottle down on the coffee table.
“You know, I was thinking…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Y-yes?” (Yun Yeong-Min)
“Hey, ahjussi?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smirked ominously and spoke.
“How about unifying both countries using this opportunity?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“……..Eh??” (Yun Yeong-Min)
Yun Yeong-Min’s trembling eyes locked onto Yi Ji-Hyuk.
What was this madman thinking of doing now?
“Kekekeke.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk ominously chuckled.
Inside of the Blue House was suddenly filled with the air of expectation and anxiety.
< 300. Who sent you lot? -5 > Fin.