“A labour contract, you say?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yep.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“But, why a labour contract, all of a sudden…?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Isn’t everyone supposed to sign one, when getting a job in a company?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
According to the law, that was indeed the case.
However, how many times would the labour contract be used in a situation like this?!
Even before the advent of the Black Monday, the news programmes often carried the reports of government employees not signing one, so what was even the point of mentioning it in the current climate?
“I feel like I haven’t asked anything too outlandish here, though? I’m going to be a civil servant, aren’t I? A dang civil servant, I say! However, you are not seriously suggesting that, as a fellow civil servant, you don’t want us to sign a labour contract? I thought this was all part of the law? Isn’t it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“….Yes, it is.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Even Choi Jung-Hoon didn’t have much to say when Yi Ji-Hyuk had cornered him like this.
“Well, don’t worry. I’m not demanding ridiculous stuff here. Truth be told, even if I get employed by you guys, it’d be like on the per-contract basis, am I right? I’m just trying to lessen the… sorrows of being a non-regular employee, you see.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
The sorrows of a non-regular employee?!
Choi Jung-Hoon began gritting his teeth.
Do you have any freaking idea how many so-called regular employees couldn’t go home, and had to work through weekends, just because of you?!
How dare a walking, talking serial destroyer of ‘valuable time off from work’ say those words?! (Choi Jung-Hoon’s angry inner monologue)
“Please take a look. We can always change around some stuff.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seeing that oily smile on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face, Choi Jung-Hoon felt a vein pop out on his forehead.
Unfortunately, he had to stay professional here.
Choi Jung-Hoon sighed out and began browsing through the contract. And as he read it further down, his expressions changed more and more.
“Excuse me, Mister Ji-Hyuk…?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Although I’d like to honour what’s written here…. Realistically speaking, there are many parts that will be impossible to do so.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Eh? Such as?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“First of all…. here. The working hours will be, eight hours a day, and no more than 40 hours a week. This part here…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What about it? Isn’t that the most basic, obvious thing?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk looked quite confident.
“Actually, it’s impossible to do this, since we are constantly on standby to counter the Gates that could open up anywhere and at any time. So it’s impossible to have fixed working hours like this.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Ah, so that’s how it is.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young quickly added a side note.
“Besides, what would you do if a Gate appeared in the middle of a night? You can’t wait around doing nothing, you know?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk proceeded to dig out his ear canal and blew away the resulting matter off his fingertip, and replied nonchalantly.
“Looks like I made a mistake about something, huh. I didn’t expect the world to have changed this much.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“What do you mean by that? How did the world change?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, well. You see, I didn’t expect that the idea of working in shifts had evaporated in the last five years while I was gone. So, am I correct in assuming that firemen and police officers are on standby 24 hours a day, eh?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Aigoo~. I didn’t know that. I should check online again.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Of course, people still work in shifts. But, because our planning revolves around the worst case scenarios…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“That’s none of my business, though.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Why should a new employee worry about the company’s bigger picture? That’s why the company’s upper management exist for. I just need to do my job and that’s it.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, you’re not wrong there…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon searched for, and ultimately failed to find, the right sort of rebuttals.
Well, the truth was, the times had devolved to the point where there were many cases of certain things taking place, that would’ve been called… illegal, if one elected to not look at them as commonly held practices.
‘Now that I think about it, even I think of them as par for the course nowadays, huh.’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
He was also in a position of not going home for three days or more, so it was safe to he couldn’t afford to worry about other people’s working hours.
“Okay, let’s say we overlook that part. But here, not working on Saturdays and Sundays are not acceptable. The Gates won’t discriminate whether it’s weekends or not.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“In that case, then we can reshuffle the days a bit. How about… two days off per week?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, hang on. That is just….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seeing this kind of reaction, Yi Ji-Hyuk couldn’t help but snigger. It seemed that these guys were taking him too lightly.
“It’s too early for you to act like that, you know?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Pardon?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You see, the real thing is still to come.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
And then, Yi Ji-Hyuk pulled out even more documents from his bag.
“Well, that’s just the standard labour contract. But we’re the so-called special case, aren’t we? So, there should be several unusual conditions we need to hash out beforehand. Am I wrong?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
As if he was declaring a war, Yi Ji-Hyuk slapped the documents down on the table.
“Why dontcha take a look?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon’s expression became gloomier.
While carrying a big mug of smoothie in one hand, Yi Ji-Hyuk exited the cafe and lit himself a smoke.
“Trying to pull a fast one on who now? Heh.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
He had been making deals for nearly a thousand years already, so how dare they!
If he were to combine all those years spent in writing up documents and paperwork alone, it should easily exceed over fifty years.
Meaning, no matter how smart and fly Choi Jung-Hoon was, they were on two completely different levels here. Completely!
Meaning…. Yi Ji-Hyuk hadn’t done something like this not because he didn’t know how to, but simply because… He couldn’t be ar*ed to. That’s it!
Looking through the shop window and finding Choi Jung-Hoon, with his hands half covering his head while studying the contract papers, Yi Ji-Hyuk began sucking in the smoothie slowly.
So amazingly delicious!
The thing was though, they should’ve been prepared to deal with this much if they were so dead-set on working with him in the first place.
Yi Ji-Hyuk was the man who had climbed to the top in a world incomparably worse and unfair than this one. Hell, he was hired as the executive administrator of a kingdom once, and ended up overturning its economy completely.
So, the likes of KSF?
“What a bunch of amateurs.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Sure, he’d appease them here and there, laugh along at their jokes, do some odd jobs every now and then, but in the end, he was going to use them. That was all they were good for.
At first, it’d be Yi Ji-Hyuk joining them, but in the end, these cute little piggies would end up becoming his hands and feet, carrying out his will and stuff.
“Besides, with that woman as their leader….”
Where would he be able to find a more amateurish group of dumba*ses in this world than them?
Choi Jung-Hoon did possess a few parts about him that made dealing with him a bit cumbersome, but he was, in the end, still the easily exploitable type, so long as Seo Ah-Young was around to act as his foil.
An evil grin spread out on Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face as he inhaled the blue cigarette smoke.
For some reason, even the smoke tasted quite refreshing today.
“….W, what are we supposed to do now?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young anxiously asked, but all Choi Jung-Hoon could do was to shake his head in frustration.
Although he could do something about the arrangements regarding the working hours later on – he could even try to make it look like no such agreements took place – but, dang it! These contract documents detailing each and every single promise the KSF had made towards supporting his family members, all meticulously prepared by Yi Ji-Hyuk no less, were huge bombshells ready to go off in the near future.
“What will happen if we honour all these?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“It’ll be an absolute chaos, actually.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What if we don’t?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Then, another kind of absolute chaos. Definitely.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon shifted his gaze outside the cafe and looked at Yi Ji-Hyuk leisurely smoking on the pavement. A long sigh automatically escaped from his mouth.
He really didn’t expect this counter punch.
Perhaps, if he was dealing with someone else, he might have anticipated something like this. After all, there had been ability users in the past who hired their own lawyers and demanded that they were to be furnished with proper contract documentations.
However, just who on this God’s green Earth could’ve imagined that someone like Yi Ji-Hyuk be capable of producing such tightly worded, no-visible loophole documentation like this?!
After all, he was talking about ‘that’ Yi Ji-Hyuk!!
“Wait, didn’t you say last night that he’s like a little kid or something?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Yes…. You said he’s a kid, and there are methods suitable for dealing with kids, didn’t you?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“What the hell? Wait a minute. Were you trying to lie to me? Better come clean, you hear? You wanted to play the game, win, and solve the matters that way, but you ended up losing, so you came up with that excuse last night, didn’t you?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“….N, no. That’s not the case…” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“For real? You telling me the truth here?” (Seo Ah-Young)
The sweat drops of the mind AKA tears began forming on the edges of Choi Jung-Hoon’s eyes. He lightly wiped the corners, and stared into the heavens.
Hah, this thing called life…
How things change so quickly in one single day…
“For now, that’s not the important part here, ma’am! We need to fix this situation first!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Don’t try changing the subject, okay?” (Seo Ah-Young)
Argh, she’s not falling for it. (Choi Jung-Hoon’s inner monologue)
Choi Jung-Hoon awkwardly licked his lips and smiled weakly.
“I, I wasn’t trying to change the subject….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Ahh! I don’t care anymore! Mister Choi Jung-Hoon, you take care of this, you hear? Do you have any idea how desperately I had to beg and get berated in return by the brass, while trying to get the money to pay Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk? I haven’t even found the chance to tell them about the expense for this deal yet! But if I show up with this nonsense, then I’ll be completely disintegrated by them!” (Seo Ah-Young)
‘But, I’m already being disintegrated here…’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon was about to say something, but licked his lips again and closed his mouth shut. Now wasn’t the time to bicker over this.
Seeing Yi Ji-Hyuk reenter the cafe, Choi Jung-Hoon’s determination became firmer.
“Have you made up your minds?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yeah? Please go ahead.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon sighed out and spoke.
“If we’re to be honest here, from our perspective, we can’t agree to the conditions found within this contract.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Why not?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Well, looking past the conditions themselves for now, it’d be an act of irrationality if we were to agree to this contract. If the matter of us agreeing to it comes to light, then well, the issues regarding the problems within the funding of the agency and the unequal treatment would be raised, you see.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Oh, that is a possibility, sure.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I promise you, I’ll do my best to honour the promises I’ve made. So, please, believe in me and….” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Even before the end of the sentence was reached, Yi Ji-Hyuk began packing away the documents.
“…Mister Ji-Hyuk?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Well, since our talk has broken down, I can go now, no?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Eh? Go where?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk shrugged his shoulders.
“Well, if no agreements can be reached, then this meeting is as good as dead, right? Since our dealings are over and done with, I’d prefer it if you guys don’t show up and bother me again.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Wha, what the! Hold on, Mister Ji-Hyuk! Wait!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“You have something else to say to me? But, I’ve nothing more to say, though? Today’s Sunday, the day of rest, so let’s not continue wasting each other’s time, okay?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
‘But, you rest every single day already, anyways!’ (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Still unable to utter out the things bubbling in his chest, Choi Jung-Hoon reached out and held on to Yi Ji-Hyuk.
“Let’s talk first! We gotta talk!! To say our meeting has broken down just because we couldn’t come to an agreement is too premature, wouldn’t you say so?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“It’s not premature to me, though…” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk sat back down on the chair and opened his mouth.
“Okay, fine. So? What are you going to do? Tell me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Now that Choi Jung-Hoon had successfully stopped Yi Ji-Hyuk from leaving, he had nothing to say. He basically had no carrots to dangle in front of his target.
He had nothing to offer, yet there was much he wanted from the other party, so it was only natural for him to start begging.
….Just when did he ever encounter a situation like this?
Choi Jung-Hoon repeatedly clenched and unfurled his fists to calm himself down. He realised that this approach wasn’t working at all.
“Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Yeah?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“In the end, you’re planning on join us, aren’t you?” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“If you agree to the conditions.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No, no, I don’t mean that.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon took a straight aim and fired.
“What is it that you really want? Please tell us.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Yi Ji-Hyuk stared at the man sitting on the opposite side and smirked slightly.
As expected, this Choi Jung-Hoon couldn’t be taken lightly.
If he was born in the past, he’d probably have managed to climb up to the upper political echelons, that’s for sure. The nature of the current world had handicapped him in a way since, you know, there was a certain limit that one couldn’t break past on his own talents alone nowadays, after all.
“What I really want… is it?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk’s gaze slowly drifted towards a certain direction.
“….Uhm, yes?” (Seo Ah-Young)
And after receiving his gaze, Seo Ah-Young tilted her head in pure puzzlement.
However, when Yi Ji-Hyuk’s hot stares continued to stare with her, Seo Ah-Young’s face reddened slightly.
‘He must’ve lost his mind.’ (Seo Ah-Young)
How was this the appropriate timing for such a thing?
No matter how big a wackjob he was, he should have been able to figure out that now wasn’t the right time for this!
Feeling a bit weirded out, Seo Ah-Young squarely met Yi Ji-Hyuk’s gaze head on. Didn’t matter if she had to use her good looks, as long as she could reel that man in!
“Hmm. Well, I…..” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Please, speak to us.” (Seo Ah-Young)
Seo Ah-Young sounded a little bit proud just then.
Choi Jung-Hoon alternated his gaze between the two, unable to understand what was going on here.
Then, Yi Ji-Hyuk spoke up with a very serious tone of voice.
“I…. All I want is… As long as this ahjumma promises not to abuse me, get angry at me, and doesn’t try to overwork me to death!” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“WHO THE HELL IS AN AHJUMMA, you son of a b*tch?!?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Look! Look! You see this? Hell, no!! Mister Choi Jung-Hoon, if you were me, would you choose to work for an ahjumma like her?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“Indeed, I agree with you.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“What the hell do you mean, you agree?! Just whose side are you on?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“At least for now, I’m on Mister Ji-Hyuk’s side!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Finally, Choi Jung-Hoon’s accumulated anguish spilled out!!
“I mean, seriously now! Captain, because you get p*ssed off at every little thing, nothing ever gets done, you know?! That’s why you can’t find a date for yourself!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“I haven’t found one, because I’m not interested!!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Ohhh, really now?!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young heard that sarcastic retort from Choi Jung-Hoon, and almost right away, her venomous right hook deeply dug into his side.
“Kkheuck!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
The unbearable pain transmitted from his marrows and sobered him in an instant.
“Okay, in any case. If this ahjumma can promise me that she’ll treat me right, then I’ll join you.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“That’s nothing at all!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Choi Jung-Hoon glared at Seo Ah-Young.
“What now?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Hurry up and promise him, ma’am!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Even I can’t tell how I’ll react later on, so how can I promise that?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Then, don’t promise him and let this meeting end in failure!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
Seo Ah-Young began trembling in rage.
“But, but! This can’t be right! Just when did I ever treat you unfairly until now, Mister Ji-Hyuk?!” (Seo Ah-Young)
“And they say those without self-awareness are the most scary ones… You can’t be serious.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Even Choi Jung-Hoon was nodding his head to the side.
Seo Ah-Young let out a lengthy groan several times, before opening her mouth.
“Okay. Fine. I promise you that I’ll never treat you unfairly. Are you happy now?” (Seo Ah-Young)
“But, you don’t sound sincere at all, though?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“No conviction behind it, too.” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
What the, this guy is really pushing my buttons today, isn’t he?! (Seo Ah-Young’s inner monologue)
Seo Ah-Young directed her serial-killer like stare at Choi Jung-Hoon. He flinched and quickly turned his head away.
She then breathed in deeply several times to calm down her heaving emotions and stared straight at Yi Ji-Hyuk’s face, before speaking up in no uncertain tone of voice.
“I’m seriously telling you, the things you are thinking about will never happen to you, Mister Ji-Hyuk. Also, you’re definitely mistaken about something. If I’m honest here, we would dare not get on your bad side. Actually, we find you… a bit intimidating.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“You mean, me?” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Seo Ah-Young nodded her head.
“One of the reasons why we wanted to work with you is… We are actually scared that you might go on a rampage. Yes, we also need your strength, that’s true. So, that’s why, I’m asking you again, Mister Yi Ji-Hyuk. Please join the new agency we’re creating. We’ll do everything in our power to ensure this new agency will solely fight for the sake of humanity.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“I don’t really care about any of that, but just promise me that you aren’t going to take advantage of me or try to torment me.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
“I give you my word.” (Seo Ah-Young)
“Well, in that case, we’re a team, then.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon stood right up from his chair.
“Thank you!!” (Choi Jung-Hoon)
“Welcome to the team!” (Seo Ah-Young)
Yi Ji-Hyuk smiled brightly and continued on.
“We’re not done yet.” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Yi Ji-Hyuk reached into the bag and began taking another document out.
“We’ll forget about the previous contract papers. But still, I figured it’d be prudent to prepare documentation that’s a bit less technical and wordy, just in case something like this happened. And it did! It highlights a few sensitive areas that we need to make sure, so, if you could just sign here, and here….” (Yi Ji-Hyuk)
Choi Jung-Hoon stared at the new pile of documents, and grandly sighed out again.
What a demon-like b*stard…
But, whatever the case might have been….
After a needlessly drawn out negotiation, Yi Ji-Hyuk agreed to join the KSF.
As an aside, Choi Jung-Hoon would grow to regret the very fact that this negotiation didn’t end up as a failure for the rest of his life.
< 54. If it’s a fight, then there’s only one way! -4 > Fin.