! I remember!”

– I ’ll get right to the point, then.
Despite my earlier visit to your premises, it seems the situation has not changed at all.
I have to say, I was impressed by how gutsy that young man was.
The way I see it, his agency, your agency, seems to be in on the act as well? Is my assumption correct?

“N-no, of course not! There ’s no way that ’s true!” Han Seon-Gu quickly lied through his teeth.
In times like this, denying everything was the smartest move.
Besides, it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what would happen if he admitted to being complicit in Jun Yeong ’s stupidity.

– Aaah, is that right? In that case, your agency isn ’t very good at managing your own talents, then?

“Ahahaha… As you may know, we are only a small agency, so it ’s kind of impossible to keep tabs on every one of our talents, you see? I did warn that kid not to do it, but, uh… Kids these days are just impossible to control, you know?”

– I see…

After that brief reply, Jo Gyu-Min said nothing for a while.

That silence crept up on Han Seon-Gu and terrified him more than anything else.
He might have dealt with this situation a little more calmly had Jo Gyu-Min acted all pissed off or outraged beyond belief.
However, that wasn ’t the case here, and Han Seon-Gu just couldn ’t figure out how to respond.


– I finally understand what you ’re trying to say.

“…I ’ll make sure to manage that kid properly so there won ’t be a next time, sir!”

– A next time, you say?

“…”

– It ’d be nice if there is a next time for you.
Unfortunately, I don ’t think ’next time ’ is a realistic dream for you, President Han.

“W-wait a minute! Mister Jo Gyu-Min! Waaaait!” Han Seon-Gu clutched his phone and desperately cried out after sensing the bone-chilling coldness contained within Jo Gyu-Min ’s voice.
“I, it was an honest mistake, sir! I swear, we really didn ’t intend for this to happen! Please believe me! If, if you graciously give us another chance, I ’ll make sure something like this will never happen again! If you want, I can even fire that bastard Jun Yeong, too! T-that ’s why, please give us another chance!”

– It seems you ’re under a mistaken assumption, President Han.

“I ’m sorry?” Han Seon-Gu gasped, wondering what that ’mistaken assumption ’ could even be.

– Our side also doesn ’t have time to think about a small fry like that kid.
What we don ’t understand in this situation is your attitude, President Han.
Even though we warned you in the name of Jaegyeong, you ignored it and treated this matter as a joke.

“N-no, that ’s not true…”

– Allow me to share with you one of our Chairman ’s beliefs.
A person can make mistakes.
However, knowingly making a mistake is no longer a mistake.
That is all.
A mistake can be forgiven, but that doesn ’t mean the punishment for the mistake itself will disappear.
And now, you ’ll get to learn the meaning of that.

“W-wait! Mister Jo Gyu-Min! Mister Jo…!” Despite all the ardent pleading, the call was coldly cut off.
Han Seon-Gu ’s forehead was soaked in cold sweat by then.
“W-what should I do?”

Kim Shin was also making a dejected face while replying to his boss.
“That ’s why you should ’ve been more careful…”

“Listen here, you dipsh*t! You think I knew things would turn out this way?! Besides, what ’s the point of arguing whose fault it is now?! We gotta think of a way to fix this! A solution!”

’It’s too late for that. ’

Kim Shin groaned inwardly.

In a situation like this, finding a solution was nothing more than a mere pipe dream.
There was an old saying about how being a moron made you brave, and that had to be the reason for Han Seon-Gu ’s crazy decision to provoke Jaegyeong like this.
At least, that was what Kim Shin told himself while trying to figure out his boss ’s motivation.

Obviously, Han Seon-Gu knew who all the players in the game were.
He was warned by Jaegyeong to back off, after all.
Yet, he got too bold for his own good.
If he got crushed by this matter, then…
He was fully deserving of the next Darwin Award.

’As for me…
I gotta bail, pronto. ’

Kim Shin sneakily got up to leave.

It was anyone ’s guess what kind of hell would be unleashed after Jaegyeong decided to get serious.
Unlike other corporations, Jaegyeong wasn ’t as generous with their purse strings when it came to spreading wealth around in the political sphere, so the level of influence they could exert wasn ’t much, but it would still be enough to trample on people like Han Seon-Gu and his agency as if they were some little insects.

“P-president!” A loud voice suddenly came from outside the door.
That was when Kim Shin instinctively realized that Armageddon had begun.
The secretary flung open the office door and rushed inside without permission.
“We have a big problem!”

“W-what ’s going on?” Han Seon-Gu reflexively asked, but his expression said he could sense what was going on to some degree.


“We just got a call from team no.
2! They said that our scheduled appearance on public TV for this week has been canceled!”

“…Say what?” Han Seon-Gu suddenly felt dizzy as if the ground was caving in.
Just how much money and expensive booze did he waste trying to get a slot in that broadcast…? If he counted all the money he had spent greasing the palms of the PDs there, it would be enough to buy a nice house! He worked that hard under the table to make that broadcast appearance happen, only for it to get canceled out of nowhere?! What kind of nonsense was this?!

“But, sir! It ’s worse than that! It ’s not just the TV side, but even the radios have canceled the appearances, too!”

“D-did we receive any official reason?”

“No, sir! I heard that…
we only received a cursory phone call.”

“But, but?! Why did they cancel on us? Why!”

“I, I also don ’t know…”

Kim Shin left behind the panicking President Han and the secretary in the office and silently escaped through the open doorway.

’What do you mean, why? ’

Kim Shin tutted softly.

Even if Jaegyeong didn ’t go out of its way to exercise its influence, it was still one of the biggest corporations in the country.
The advertising budget Jaegyeong spent on TV stations alone should be unimaginably vast.
So, if Jaegyeong ’coughed ’ to express their discomfort, then well… A small-to-medium talent agency like this one would get swept up in a Category 5 hurricane.

’There ’s a hole in the hull, huh… ’

The only fate waiting for the passengers of a boat with a hole in the bottom in the middle of an open sea was a watery grave.
Kim Shin pulled out his resignation letter from his inner pocket, then placed it on the secretary ’s desk before unhesitantly escaping from the building.

Once outside, he looked back at his former workplace and sighed deeply.

’Gee whiz, so vengeful… ’

He thought that the retaliation could come in the form of a tax investigation if Jaegyeong were being gentlemanly.
Alternatively, the prosecuting authority could also descend on the agency to uncover the skeletons in the closet.
Either of those would have been enough to utterly disintegrate this agency, which was already choke-full of all sorts of corruption.

However…
Despite knowing the surefire way to destroy its enemy, Jaegyeong displayed its intent to take its time and choke the life out of this agency.
Han Seon-Gu might have no idea about this now, but Kim Shin could definitely feel that intent.

“Yup, one shouldn ’t provoke a sleeping snake.”

***

Around the same time Kim Shin was tutting away while leaving his former workplace, Jo Gyu-Min sitting in his office had to stop calling everyone on the phone and scratch his itching ears.

“…Is someone talking crap about me or something?”

Since Jo Gyu-Min had done quite a few questionable things until now, he found it somewhat challenging to figure out who could be bad-mouthing him.
However, he cackled away like a villain and picked up his phone again.

1.
At the time of TLing, 50 million won is around $35100 USD.

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