“Uh?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon confirmed who entered the office and let out a gasp.
“What brings you here, sir?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“What’s the matter? Am I not supposed to be here?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“No, well, that’s not it, but….” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon could only chuckle from who the new entrant to the scene was.
His all-gray swept-back hair and expensive-looking black suit powerfully emitted this man’s dandiness, but at the same time, his jutting pectoral muscles, as well as biceps and the femoral muscles threatening to burst out of the suit’s seams, completely covered up his dandiness with this untamed, wild look.
Indeed, it was the leader of the ruling party, Song Jeong-Su.
“Ohh, ahjussi. Been a really long time, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Song Jeong-Su swallowed back his groan after hearing Yi Ji-Hyuk.
How should he put this?
That man, he sure knew how to make you love him and loathe him in equal measure.
If Song Jeong-Su thought about what this young man had done to him, then killing the punk hundreds of times wouldn’t satisfy him, but he couldn’t deny that his new lease on life was also due to the b*stard, as well.
He would’ve never get to enjoy this level of vigour currently overflowing within his body if he didn’t get thrown into the other world. Seriously now, didn’t his wife, younger than him by a dozen-plus years, throw a hullabaloo yesterday while asking where he went to get a body like this one?
All thanks to that, Song Jeong-Su got to enjoy one of the most ‘abundant’ morning workouts in the last decade or so. That’s why he found Yi Ji-Hyuk both hateful and thankful at the same time.
“How have you been? Is everything alright?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Well, yeah, all thanks to your consideration.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The reason why Yi Ji-Hyuk’s reply sounded oh-so detestable shouldn’t be all down to Song Jeong-Su’s personality. Surely not.
‘Endure it.’ (Song Jeong-Su)
While experiencing both North Korea and the other world, Song Jeong-Su truly got to learn Yi Ji-Hyuk’s importance to South Korea, no, the entire world.
In a world where the strong preyed on the weak, the existence of a lone man possessing the power to fight back was, simply put, a priceless treasure. Only after realising this crucial fact did he understand how poorly the South Korean government treated Yi Ji-Hyuk up until now.
‘If it was me, I’d have moved to the U.S by now.’ (Song Jeong-Su)
There was a reason why Song Jeong-Su lived in Korea and not in America. Not because he loved staying in the country of his birth, but simply because he wouldn’t get to enjoy the current position of absolute political power in the United States.
Didn’t matter whether he was the leader of the ruling party or not, he’d be no different from a regular Asian geezer when in the American soil. Sure, he might be treated well if he travelled to the U.S, but that was solely because of his position as the ruling party’s leader, not because he was a man named Song Jeong-Su.
However, the same logic didn’t apply to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
If Song Jeong-Su’s power was relative, than Yi Ji-Hyuk’s power was absolute. Even if it wasn’t South Korea, the latter would easily enjoy as good a treatment he currently received from the American government. Scratch that, he’d definitely enjoy far better benefits from them, that’s for sure.
‘It’s always this sad tale for South Korea, isn’t it….’ (Song Jeong-Su)
It was common to see in Korea those with talent never getting what they deserved, whether they were scientists or whatever.
Such a situation occurred with an alarming regularity – a situation where a person with talent and ability get treated badly, which leads to them being taken away by another country; and when their true worth was revealed to the rest of the world at a later stage, the government suddenly invoke this thing about ‘patriotism’ and ardently wish for the triumphant return of this person in question.
‘We simply cannot afford for something like that to happen this time around.’ (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su had no desire to lose Yi Ji-Hyuk to another country. He was the important key that allowed the Republic of Korea to go through the most prosperous period in its history.
“I tried my best to make things more comfortable for you, but if there is something still bugging you, tell me. I shall try to fix it right away.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Oh my, thank you so much for your consideration.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jeong-Hoon deeply bowed, but Yi Ji-Hyuk remained unimpressed.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk, is there anything you’re unhappy with?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Well, not particularly, no.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I promise that the support towards the NDF will be prioritised over anything else from now on.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Never mind the support and all that, how about a general pay rise, instead?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“It shall be done.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Ehng??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s eyes went round from surprise.
He was just saying whatever that came to his mind, so he was somewhat taken aback by that unexpectedly quick reply.
“I’ve been looking into the matter already and as it turns out, you were all sharing the same salary system with the regular KSF agents. This issue of the elite agents having the same pay system as the lowest-grade agents will negatively affect the morals of the organisation if left alone so I shall see to it that the matter is adjusted within the next couple of weeks.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Ahjussi, I thought you were a politician?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mm?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Now normally, politicians just pay you lip service and that’s about it. They usually beat around the bush and never give out a definite time table, too.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Song Jeong-Su smirked meaningfully.
“That’s only when they aren’t interested in the first place. I am indeed a politician. However, I’m also a man who firmly believes that time is life itself on the matters that has to be done right away. For now, I shall ensure that the new system regarding the NDF agents will be announced as soon as possible. And also….” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su scanned Yi Ji-Hyuk from top to bottom before carrying on.
“Yours will be adjusted accordingly, too. I heard that you get treated the same as contracted civil servant even now?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Yup. It’s true.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I don’t know which stupid jacka*s came up with that idea, but…..” (Song Jeong-Su)
Choi Jeong-Hoon flinched and cowered slightly.
“We will immediately sign a new contract. Before you go home today, the KSF director will stop by to speak to you.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“….Huh. Something’s wrong here.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk roughly scratched his head.
The Republic of Korea he knew did not operate like this. It was the norm to see people work hard but never get rewarded in this country. Those that rode in with their parachutes would settle down in their meaningless positions, and a huge amount of financial resources would be diverted to these money-wasting cockroaches, enabling them to go around buying expensive luxury goods with their company expenses card – now that was the Hell Joseon he was familiar with.
At this rate, this country might lose its qualifications to be called ‘Hell’ whatever.
“By the way….” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su shifted his gaze over to Choi Jeong-Hoon.
“Sir?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
A sudden bout of military discipline entered Choi Jeong-Hoon and he stood stiffly at attention. Unlike these ability users, he was a civil servant acutely aware of how much political power the old man before his eyes possessed.
“I also heard that your pay is considerably poor compared to the amount of hard work you put in.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“………Sir, I thought that my wages have been quite adequate so far.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“You can’t say that it’s right to pay you the same amount as regular civil servant when you work for the NDF, with only the risk pay added on top. I promise you, both the agents working for the KSF and the NDF will be paid the amount that even the regular civil servants can agree with. However, I believe this part might require some laws and bills to be passed first, so can you sit tight for a little while?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Thank you, sir.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon bowed deeply.
“Ahjussi, I see that you’re angling for the job in the presidential office.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Hahaha!” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su roared out in laughter.
“If I wish to become the president, then I should be busy criticising you. You know how negative sentiments towards the ability users are among the regular people right now, yet you can still crack jokes like that?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Oh, really?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked back and Choi Jeong-Hoon lowered his head a little.
“….In that case, what’s up with all this?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Song Jeong-Su’s follow-up smile was subtle.
“Why don’t we say it’s all too scary?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Only after I ended up in the other world did I get to truly learn how terrifying these monsters can be. I heard that the world you sent me was filled with only weaker monsters. Was that right?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Well, sure. Something like that.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Even then, I still learned the hard way how cruel and vicious these monsters can actually get. Also, how scary it can be, living your entire life in the frontlines. I looked back and realised that I had never really thought about such a thing even though I live in South Korea, a country where monsters far more terrifying than them pop out of Gates all the time.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Choi Jeong-Hoon nodded his head. That was the situation occurring countless times currently out in society.
“In the end, our society is functioning only because of the exploitation of the ability users and their sacrifices. I’m supposed to be a politician, yet failed to catch that. My eyes are open now after that sojourn to another world, however. So, I began thinking. What if ability users suddenly go on a strike as a group….? Our society will crumble down in an instant. Of course, they know full well that the nation will be destroyed if they don’t work so surely, they wouldn’t go on a strike, but still.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su paused for a second to take a breather, and continued on.
“However, that’s simply a threat, trickery, with the entire country held as collateral. If we’re talking about a properly-functioning government, then it’s only right that the ones sacrificing themselves for the sake of their mother nation should be compensated accordingly. But we got ourselves all these politicians busy criticising and bad-mouthing ability users just for some extra political points. What a frustrating thing this is.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Yi Ji-Hyuk came to a conclusion right then.
“So, basically, you ate something weird in the other world.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Is that how it is……” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su formed a frustrated expression. He knew that conversing at length with Yi Ji-Hyuk was an utter waste of time yet he continued to yap on for a while, so who was the fool here?
“….In any case, just know that this will be the norm from now on.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“What will be?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Never mind.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su stopped paying Yi Ji-Hyuk attention and shifted his gaze back to Choi Jeong-Hoon.
“If there is something else, give me a call and tell me.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Understood, sir.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon was fully aware of how incredible it was to have Song Jeong-Su on their side.
If you asked who enjoyed the greatest level of political power in the Korean Republic, then without a doubt, it should be its president, Yun Yeong-Min.
Even if he was rated pretty abysmally in the popularity poll, there’s no denying that he still wielded considerable power. That’s how powerful the authority granted to the sitting president.
However, Song Jeong-Su’s powers were easily up to par with that.
Sure, he might not be one with the actual authority, but as far as his political influence was concerned, it easily exceeded the president’s. It would be no exaggeration to say that there was no place in the government that he couldn’t reach, whether that be the legislative, judicial, or even administrative branch.
Hell, even President Yun Yeong-Min carried out this man’s opinion, even though they were supposedly in an antagonistic relationship, so there was no need to mention this any further.
“Thank you, party leader-nim.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“Don’t mention it.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su accepted the gratitude and looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Although it’s still too early, why don’t we go and eat something if you haven’t had breakfast yet?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Ahjussi, are you buying??” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Oh, so you think I’ll ask you to pay?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“M-mm….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shifted his head and looked at Choi Jeong-Hoon, then whispered quietly.
“This, I can’t go past 30,000 Won, right?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon deeply pondered something, before shaking his head.
“I don’t think that’s applicable to you, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
“You’re also exempt, so come with us.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Ah, will that be fine, sir?” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
Choi Jeong-Hoon smiled brightly.
“Ahjussi, you sound like you’ve got some money stashed somewhere.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….That’s because politics is something that only the fools with lots of money and too much free time on their hands can partake in. The ones that should really be involved are just too busy making a living so they can’t even dare to enter the political scene.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Ohh, I see. That kinda makes sense.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s why I’ve been arguing that the pension for the National Assemblymen should be guaranteed by the state, but too bad, citizens don’t seem to be agreeing with that sentiment, what with every single one of our politicians being stinking thieves at heart.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Well, who’d like the idea of paying pension of the dudes with our taxes when they are all hell-bent on enriching themselves?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s why we should let people who aren’t corrupt become National Assemblymen. Since you can’t join a regular company once you become an Assemblyman, it’s little wonder why only those with wealth are trying to enter the politics.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“….Ahjussi, you’re definitely a politician, alright.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What is it now?” (Song Jeong-Su)
“You see, the stuff you’re saying, it sounds pretty sweet, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Huhuhuhuh.” (Song Jeong-Su)
Song Jeong-Su chuckled loudly and wrapped his arm around Yi Ji-Hyuk’s shoulders.
“Well, in that case, would you dare to eat a meal with this con man, then? If you don’t keep your wits about you, I might completely wring you dry of every cent you have.” (Song Jeong-Su)
“Feels like your biceps are choking me in the arteries. What a missed opportunity this is, Mister Park Seong-Chan not being here and all.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk was dragged outside the office by Song Jeong-Su. Choi Jeong-Hoon watched the duo for a bit, shook his head in helplessness, and followed after them.
How should he put this?
Is it like, they are utterly incompatible yet somehow, they are a perfect combination?
What, I’m also the same?? (Choi Jeong-Hoon’s inner monologue)
“….Eiiii, there’s no way.” (Choi Jeong-Hoon)
< 336. That sounds like a dangerous announcement -1 > Fin.