Chapter 20: < Protect – Episode 19 – Lee Jung Hoon  >
Lee Mi Hyun hated living as a noble who held onto past honors. They’re incapable humans full of authority, bluff, and vanity, who’ve achieved nothing themselves. She wanted to escape the life of pretending to be noble yet everyone unacknowledged this wish of hers and having no choice but to deny reality. She wanted to be free of her family, who were always butting into every aspect of her life.
“Long time no see.”
“Yes. Long time no see.”
When Lee Mi Hyun announced she was marrying David Cox, also known as Lee Chul, the clan was adamant to oppose this decision. They threw a fuss about not wanting a white man with an unknown background as the son-in-law of the king.
“You look well.”
“Because I am.”
Lee Jin sighed. He’s not on edge, but he’s not comfortable either. The little sister he hadn’t seen in a long time still had resentment within her.
“Do you still hate the adults?”
“I don’t think I’ll ever like them.”
“I understand. They only live in the past.”
Even though they had disappeared from the public, the Korean imperial family still existed on the Korean peninsula. During the vestiges of the Joseon imperialism, the empire of Japan helped them stand out to the Western culture of the noble which resulted in the economic success of many royals.
“What is it you want to say?”
“Aren’t you going to offer me some coffee?”
After Lee Mi Hyun went straight to the point, she heard Lee Jin sit down, so she went to the kitchen. Her only big brother took her side despite the family’s opposition.
“Make three cups.”
“I asked Chul to come too.”
Lee Mi Hyun stopped pouring water into the coffeepot.
“You called him?”
“I have something to say that both of you need to hear.”
Soon after, Lee Chul walked through the door. He approached Lee Jin and bowed. Even though it was a humiliating posture in the west, Lee Chul had become more Korean than any real Korean around.
“How have you been, Sir? I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch.”
“That’s okay. It’s my fault for not taking proper care of my little sister.”
Lee Mi Hyun stared at them as if she was watching a historical drama. It was clear that they were conspiring behind her back.
“Stop making that face and sit down, Mi Hyun.”
“What are you two conspiring?”
Lee Jin and Lee Chul looked at each other and laughed.
“You can’t live like this forever.”
Lee Jin wanted to free herself from the illusion of being an emperor’s descendant just like how Lee Mi Hyun wanted liberty from her family. Since Korea didn’t have a constitutional monarchy, the imperial family didn’t need to exist. So the reason there was a princess, and a descendant was that someone still needed the imperial family. It shocked Lee Jin when he saw the will his father left before he died.
“Korea National Association isn’t loyal to the imperial family, so you mustn’t ever trust them. Same with the royal family. They’re informants of a foreign power, so you must make the imperial family’s discipline upright again.”
After the defeat of the Japanese imperialism, many royal families left the Korean peninsula. They didn’t think they had a future on their homeland. However, through collectivism and capitalism that arose through the Korean War and the Vietnam War, the Korean peninsula revived from the ruins.
“Father didn’t trust them.”
The royal family, who returned once things got better, was quiet for some time until their ambition came out in the middle of the 1960s. The more definite title of Korea National Association was the Restoration of the Korean Imperial Family or Korean Establishment Preparation Committee. Not only did the imperial family gather back in the Korean peninsula, but they received secret funding from foreign governments.
Japan was especially enthusiastic.
“Nothing’s free in life.”
“What did they do?”
“It’s embarrassing, but they staged a coup d’état, expressed support to an illegitimate military, and got involved with Korea and Japan’s diplomatic relations.”
Back in the 50s and 60s after the Korean empire went through the Japanese colonial era, people perceived the imperial family as an impressive symbol of their emancipation. Before the press could do a proper job, the imperial family was the best sycophant for those who wanted power.
“We have to cut those ill ties.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’ll tell you that part.”
Lee Mi Hyun turned toward the unfamiliar voice.
“I’m Yoon Chul. And this is who I am.”
Yoon Chul passed her his business card.
A police officer and Section 1 Chief, Yoon Chul.
After parting with Ahn Soo Ho, he immediately went to Lee Jin. He had found information on Korea National Association through his work. Of course, he immediately passed it on to Ahn Soo Ho. That’s because he knows how long Ahn Soo Ho could hold a grudge.
“Factionalism is the physiology of organizations… I think that’s true.”
Ahn Soo Ho found a weakness in Korea National Association.
“The monarchs have no choice but to feel dissatisfied with that organization for not being treated well enough.”
That’s what they said. How could the emperor’s descendant, who’s the symbol of Korea National Association, hate them? He couldn’t believe it at first.
As organizations grow, they divide into factions. In the police’s case, everyone had a fierce fight for that one police commissioner position. Not everyone would have had the same thoughts about the Korea National Association.
A police siren went off.
As soon as they could hear screaming and swearing, Lee Mi Hyun held onto Lee Chul’s arm out of anxiousness. They do not understand what’s going on. Lee Chul, who was comforting his wife while looking out the window, sighed out of relief. What Lee Jin said was true. Korea National Association had been watching the couple as an organization.
What are they trying to get out of monitoring a powerless woman and her husband? The police came in and looked for Yoon Chul.
“All nine of you are under arrest.”
“Good work. Take them to the nearest police station.”
Even if he’s an officer, section chief, and a superintendent, this is Jejudo. Without the branch office’s cooperation, arrests were difficult to make. Since they mobilized without reporting to the higher-ups, they would punish all involved officers once they get to Seoul, but that didn’t matter.
Yoon Chul took out his phone.
“It’s just as I expected, Soo Ho. I caught them, but it won’t be easy to get them to talk… What should we do?”
“There’s no need to open their mouths. All we need is the truth about a coercive situation aimed at Lee Mi Hyun.”
“I’ll probably get a call soon. Oh! Just in time. I’m hanging up.”
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho hung up, Yoon Chul put away his phone and looked at the three of them.
“Aren’t you curious to know what Daesan Hotel’s suites look like?”
All people have weaknesses, and family is the most common one. A family was a weakness, even for Ahn Soo Ho. Whether they were a royal or a bugle, a family is a weakness. There are weaknesses in all human relationships, and in clans like the imperial family, there were tons of issues. Just like the documents sent to Korea National Association, Lee Mi Hyun’s problem wasn’t that special or serious either.
Not having children and not being acknowledged by in-laws might be serious to the couple, but in the Middle East, where they even honor killings, it was nothing. After experiencing many cultures, Ahn Soo Ho realized one thing. It was unnecessary to get through a million guards and sneak through all the monitoring to kill a rich person.
“People with a lot of self-pride obsess over fame and reputation.”
Even if they did a lot of dirty things in secret, it didn’t matter as long as they didn’t get caught. However, if they ever get caught, they wouldn’t be able to stand it.
“Has it been fourteen years, Mr. Lee?”
Ahn Soo Ho was a little nervous as he held the phone.
“Has it been that long already? I heard you’ve succeeded abroad, Soo Ho.”
“Soo Ho? I don’t think we have that kind of comfortable relationship. You and Lee Kyung Joon both have thick skins.”
“Don’t you think there was a problem with your behavior?”
“If you think the strong should harass the weak… then sure. I admit it, but what do we do? I think I’m the stronger one now. Now! Are you ready to reveal it all?”
It’s an obvious provocation. Lee Ji Heon gulped.
“What do you want?”
“All I’ve never wanted was peace.”
“If you want an apology and compensation… you’ve got it.”
“Shouldn’t you clean up your own sh*t first? You don’t think those are reasonable conditions, do you?”
To resolve the reformation of the rich, someone had to take a hit. To satisfy the fierce sympathy of the public, at least half of the rich in their 30s had to take legal responsibility.
“Daesan and Jinsung can’t avoid taking responsibility either.”
They should sacrifice to expect something back. That means they have to make a reasonable settlement. The key was who will lead that settlement process?
“Is it money you want?”
“Money? Can you give me quadrillion?”
He would back out if it was around quadrillion won.
“Let’s be realistic.”
“Do you even have the power to decide, Mr. Lee?”
It’s true. Even though Lee Ji Heon contacted Ahn Soo Ho, he had no power to give him a definite answer.
“It’s understandable for a Korean to refuse a foreign son-in-law, but coercing infertility to keep your pure bloodline is a grave crime.”
“How… did you know?”
He expected denial, but he easily acknowledged it. That was very unexpected. If Lee Ji Heon had seen Ahn Soo Ho’s evil smile, he would have fainted.
“I don’t care about me, but you disregarded my siblings.”
Ahn Soo Ho and Yoon Chul were not the only ones who dropped out of the Naval Academy because of Lee Kyung Joon.
“The one who threw the punch sleeps well while the one who got hit remembers it forever, right?”
“Shouldn’t it be the opposite?”
“No, what I said is right. If not, you wouldn’t have forgotten us.”
That was because they never considered that they weren’t able to recognize a weakness as a weakness. Small cracks always collapse an entire dam. They were so focused on judges, prosecutors, lawyers, doctors, presidents, generals, congressman, and rich people, that they didn’t think about a blue-eyed son-in-law or an emperor’s descendant.
“I suggest you try nothing on us. China, Japan, and the States all know about your weaknesses. They’re just looking for a good opportunity to use it.”
It was Korea National Association who tried to shake up Daesan Group, but the ones behind it were patriotic royal families who had returned to revive the Korean imperial family. Ahn Soo Ho saw all of them as spies.
“If not money, what do you want?”
“The fake sons of bitches who are pretending to be patriots.”
“I need the name of the first one to suggest all of this.”
There are more black-haired beasts pretending to be Koreans than you’d expect.
“Oh yeah! I never said I hated money.”
It’s not right to refuse in the courteous country of the East.
“So how much are you offering?”
But he would refuse a small sum.
< Protect – Episode 19 – Lee Jung Hoon  > The end.