Chapter 47: < Protect – Episode 46 – Dresden  >
Do Min Ho crouched in the corner and let off a depressing aura.
Ahn Soo Ho didn’t care and gathered employees in executive positions as well as actors and idols who brought in high profits.
“We’ll return together in my private jet in four days.”
A hand stopped them from exclaiming.
“You’ll also get a vacation bonus, so please enjoy some sightseeing. Oh, the dispatched employees will also get severance pay or a bonus.”
“You don’t have to do all that.”
When the branch manager tried to oppose due to the strain it could put on the company, Ahn Soo Ho shut him up with his hand again.
“It’s not just the entertainment industry that costs a lot in personnel expenses. All industries are like that. In an industry where it’s all about people, it doesn’t make sense to be stingy about personal expenses.”
The nonsense put a hopeless face on Oh Joo Kyung and Ahn Soo Ho just shrugged.
“Let’s be honest. If there’s a dispatched employee you want to hire, tell me now.”
“Do you mean that?”
It was the general affairs team leader who carefully let out his opinion.
“Do you have anyone you want to recommend, Team Leader Yoon?”
“Yes. There are many, President Ahn.”
“Hire them all.”
“All of them? Are they going to Korea with us?”
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho shooked his head, Oh Joo Kyung stepped up.
“The Japanese corporate body will be gone but we’re still going to keep an office of contact. They’ll analyze changing trends and market trends, and they’ll also support our artists with Japanese promotions.”
“Oh! I like that.”
A discussion began between Oh Joo Kyung and the executive employees. Ahn Soo Ho turned his attention to the actors and idols. It was so awkward that they didn’t even know if the sushi was going up their noses or down their throats.
At a time like this, funny guys were the best.
The depressed Do Min Ho ran over to Ahn Soo Ho like a puppy as soon as he was called.
“You were kidding, right, Soo Ho?”
“Stop the nonsense and tell me who you’re dating.”
Do Min Ho was very surprised.
“You know you can never trick me.”
It had always been impossible to trick Ahn Soo Ho. Even if he thought he tricked him, he later found out that he pretended to be tricked. Do Min Ho sprung up, walked off, and brought over someone by their wrist.
Jeering and shouting could be heard. There must have been people who knew about it and people who didn’t know about it.
“This is Kim Yoo Ri. She’s my girlfriend. Say hello. He’s someone I respect more than anyone else in this world.”
Do Min Ho, who pulled over the grumbling woman in a tough manner, revealed the truth about his dating life. There were those who sincerely congratulated him as well as those who were jealous and forever single.
“Oh, hello. My name is Kim Yoo Ri.”
“Please sit over here.”
Even though Ahn Soo Ho treated her nicely with a smile, she was restless as if she was sitting on thorns.
“Thank you for dating such a lacking man, Yoo Ri.”
“Not at all. I’m more lacking than he is.”
“Lacking? I’m not…”
“Be quiet. When did you start dating?”
“Hm. Eight months ago?”
“That was when you were filming the movie.”
“Yeah. She’s the assistant of the writer who’s in charge of dramatization.”
“So that’s how you got the cameo role.”
“Yeah… you could say that.”
“You kept your girlfriend a secret? Your brothers might kill you if they find out.”
“Oh no! I don’t care about the youngest, but my older brothers can’t find out… Can’t you help me out, Soo Ho?”
“You only treat me nicely when you need something.”
“No way! I’ll always be below you, Soo Ho.”
“Stop being gross, you punk.”
He kicked Do Min Ho in the ass and continued his conversation with Kim Yoo Ri.
“Is Mino good to you, Yoo Ri? If not, I’ll deal with him for you.”
“No, he’s great.”
She spasmodically waved her hands.
Ahn Soo Ho noticed that she felt very small. She must have felt nervous among such top actors and idols, but the bigger problem was her slow-witted boyfriend. If he accidentally revealed their dating secret, he should have taken care of her until the end, but he was too busy receiving congratulations from colleagues and friends.
“Don’t be nervous. No one thinks you’re lacking. Are you a writer?”
No matter how many times he told her to feel at ease, she wouldn’t have listened to any of it. If that was the case, it was wiser to change the subject. Even though he was not the type to question other people’s dating lives, it was better to do it when things were chaotic.
“How did you start dating?”
Do Min Ho and Kim Yoo Ri’s love story was one that would put people to sleep. After graduating from creative writing, she aimed to start a career in that field, but she later realized how difficult that was. The connections in the literary world were just as complicated as that of the political world.
She naturally changed her path to broadcast writing.
But she realized that that path wasn’t easy either. It was bearable to work as someone’s assistant, but what was more difficult was main writers using her work as if it was their own. The bear did the tricks while they raked in the money.
She tried subcontractor production companies, movies, dramas, and variety shows, but only the people changed while the environment stayed the same. Kim Yoo Ri was about to give up when she met Do Min Ho.
“I thought he was a stalker at first. Like… a commoner killer?”
“Oh. People who choose non-famous people to date?”
It was comical to divide normal people and celebrities, but that was how it was in Korea. They liked to talk about ranks and draw lines.
“I’m not the prettiest, so when he said he liked me, I put my guard up. I wondered if I looked that easy. I was pretty angry.”
“I think you’re pretty. Have confidence, Ms. Kim.”
“No way! You’re good at lying. I guess sworn brothers are alike, huh?”
After having a few drinks, Kim Yoo Ri had become confident all of a sudden. Or did she got drunk on purpose? She didn’t refuse any offers and kept drinking them.
In the end, she got wasted.
“Domino! You horrible piece of shit! If you dump me, you’re dead! Got it? Come over here!”
“What’s wrong with her?”
Once Do Min Ho returned from receiving congratulations from colleagues and friends, Kim Yoo Ri was wasted. He held up the mumbling woman and looked back at Ahn Soo Ho hopelessly.
After handing over Kim Yoo Ri to his boyfriend, Ahn Soo Ho looked around the tables that seemed less awkward. A few drinks made the vibe a lot better, and once Do Min Ho and Kim Yoo Ri left, someone raised their hand and looked at Ahn Soo Ho. Was that what they did when they were training?
“I’m not your teacher, so you don’t have to raise your hand.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Go ahead. What is it?”
“Are you rich?”
That was the most commonly asked question, and it was a controversy that wouldn’t stop.
“What does that even mean? How much money do you have to have to be rich?”
“Around… 10 trillion won?”
10 trillion won was only 8 billion US dollars. The kids looked at things at a small scale. Distinguished families of Europe, American conglomerates, and royal families of the Middle East who have oil money thought in the range of 10,000 trillion. Ahn Soo Ho had never dreamt of competing with them but if he tried, 10 trillion won was no problem.
“Then you are rich.”
The eyes of envy from the idols put Ahn Soo Ho in a strange position. There wasn’t a single warm glance among them. They were either scared or thinking of how to use him.
“You’ve all made a lot of money for your age too.”
It was true. Successful idols had good incomes. That was why so many people try to succeed as idols. As a result, parents went crazy about it too. Since even the wealthier kids tried to become celebrities, the entertainment market grew bigger by the day.
The generation that only favored judges, prosecutors, and doctors were over.
“You can no longer succeed with only star qualities and natural talents. In this society, you have to be ahead of everyone else in order to survive. I don’t think the entertainment industry’s any different.”
Having succeeded in one industry was proof of how persistent a person was. Putting more effort wasn’t a choice, but a requirement. A little bit of luck was a cherry on top. Ahn Soo Ho excused himself in response to Oh Joo Kyung’s hand gesture.
He heard Nakayama Soichiro’s voice from the phone.
“It’s done, Soo Ho.”
“When will I see the results?”
“Tomorrow? That’s fast. I’ll look forward to it.”
After ending the call, he left the fancy Japanese restaurant and returned to his hotel. He brushed Oh Joo Kyung off and went up to the suite room. He heared indicators of people. The woman holding a drink at the small bar either smiled or cried at Ahn Soo Ho’s appearance.
On the outside, Kumiko looked like a small girl. She looked like an underdeveloped kid, but she was actually over forty. Her case wasn’t something as simple as having her growth stunted when she was in her teenage years, she was just an unfortunate woman that contracted an incurable disease.
‘In return for her lack of body growth, another part of her developed abnormally well.’
The ignorant ones attributed that to prophecies and superpowers, and made Kumiko into a guinea pig. However, she was a very intelligent woman. She knew exactly what she had to do.
“Has it been four or five years, Soo Ho? I’ve heard the news. You’re on sabbatical, huh?”
“But I feel like I’m working even more now.”
“That’s because you’re desired.”
It was strange to see a child tilting a glass filled with alcohol.
“Seeing how Nakayama desperately came to find me, you must be scheming something interesting.”
“It’s not me, but you who’s scheming, Kumiko.”
“I don’t know anything about that.”
Kumiko denied it but Ahn Soo Ho didn’t believe her.
“I was confused too. Until I saw this, that is.”
He pulled out a USB and shooked it in front of her. Kumiko put down her glass and laughed bitterly.
“Daniel Navarros… I told them to deal with him or else he would become a problem, but they didn’t listen.”
When Ahn Soo Ho gently looked at her, she surrendered.
“Okay! Fine! I’ll tell you.”
Kumiko filled her empty glass and started talking.
“My first job was to destroy Daesan Group. So I induced a Yankee. He probably doesn’t even know that he was controlled.”
“That’s right. He had that ridiculous nickname. Anyway, as soon as I finished the initial design, everything else fell into place. Things only changed once you came into the picture, Soo Ho.”
“Didn’t you consider the relationship between Daesan and me?”
“I did. But…”
“It was beyond my predictions.”
“You didn’t think we’d join forces?”
“Didn’t it seem that way? Even though Daesan is a big company, they’re nothing compared to the companies that offered you positions. Even the States offer you hundreds of billions of dollars. South Korea is too small.”
After finishing her glass, she grabbed for the bottle.
“My second job was to delay you.”
“Park Sang Goo.”
“That’s right. There’s nothing worse than old resentment. Once I made him into the boss, Do Kyung Ho? His resentment toward him came out. But this situation turned out differently from what I expected too.”
“I didn’t know you’d use Vitali. Wait, I guess it was Vitali who waited for the opportunity.”
Ahn Soo Ho no longer worried about any country’s legal system. But in his homeland, he tried his best not to get into any trouble. That was why it was predicted that he would deal with Park Sang Goo in a legal way. But a sound procedure required time.
“What about your third job?”
“I didn’t plan out the third job, Soo Ho. There’s no relationship between me and Deep Breath. The Japanese government might be crazy, but they’re not stupid enough to trick me and sign a double contract.”
Ahn Soo Ho stroked his chin. He felt like something was out of place.
“Who’s the ultimate winner?”
There were more people who were losing than people who came out with profits. This definitely had nothing to do with profits. He tossed Navarros’ USB at Kumiko.
“Anything else you have to tell me, Kumiko?”
“I don’t know how far they are, but Angola is on the move. I’m sure of it. Because of that, the elders are terribly anxious. If the upcoming G7 Tokyo meeting is ruined… Boom! Blood will be shed.”
“Whether the meeting gets ruined or not has nothing to do with me.”
Kumiko, who heard what she just said as a déjà vu, distorted her lips. She was being sarcastic.
“The Dresden file.”
“No. You promised not to reveal it.”
“Let me finish. Spread a rumor about me having the Dresden file.”
Kumiko tilted her head.
“Just spread the rumor.”
Ahn Soo Ho laughed coldly.
“Have you fished before?”
Pain was difficult and patience was a virtue.
< Protect – Episode 46 – Dresden  > The end.