Jo Gyu-Min talked into the phone for a while, and eventually, a deep smirk formed on his face.
“Thank you.
I ’ll leave it to your discretion, then.”

A hint of confidence and leeway crept into his expression as he spoke.

“…Oh, no.
That ’s not how it is.
It ’s just that Chairman Hwang values this individual quite highly, you see.
But it ’s not what you think.
Mm, well…
Since it ’s you, I guess it ’s alright to tell you this much.
Actually, Chairman Hwang isn ’t looking after Kang Se-Ah, but someone else who happens to be connected to her.
However, this has to remain a secret between us.”

Jo Gyu-Min was making a calculated move here.
He figured revealing this nugget of information wouldn ’t cause an issue later down the line.
Even if he were talking to a detective, they wouldn ’t instantly single out Kang Jin-Ho from the so few clues he had given out.
Since he also divulged information about how Kang Se-Ah was not related to Hwang Jeong-Hu by blood, no one would think the same about her brother, Kang Jin-Ho.
Which also meant they wouldn ’t immediately suspect Kang Jin-Ho ’s family.

“Yes, thank you.
I ’ll leave it in your care.
Goodbye.” Jo Gyu-Min leisurely ended the call and mouthed a cigarette.
“I gotta wonder…
Why do I enjoy this kind of work more?”

Jo Gyu-Min lived his life like a straight arrow until getting a job in a corporation called Jaegyeong.
His abilities were eventually acknowledged, which fast-tracked him to a spot in the Office of Secretaries.
Things went a bit sideways after Hwang Jeong-Hu collapsed from his illness, but that speed bump didn ’t derail Jo Gyu-Min ’s career, proving that he was treading on solid ground.

So, it puzzled him why scheming insidious things excited him so much.

’No, hang on… ’

Now that he thought about it, folks that managed to climb up the sphere of power in politics or finance all tended to have a few skeletons hidden in their closets.
In that case, maybe it shouldn ’t come as a surprise that people with a certain disposition usually climbed up the social ladder faster than others.
Just like Jo Gyu-Min, for instance.

He personally called a couple of places, but when it came to the broadcasting side of things, he let Code handle it, thinking that getting Jaegyeong ’s name involved in too many areas of this scheme would not be a good idea overall.
With this much work done, the Voice and the affiliated idol groups wouldn ’t be allowed anywhere near TV stations.
However, Jo Gyu-Min had no thoughts of ending it here.

One didn ’t really need TV shows to get popular these days, thanks to the power of the Internet.
The odds of that Jun Yeong brat going viral was next to none, but what if he did go viral through some fancam action and race to the top of the charts?[1]

’That ’s why I ’m gonna totally obliterate you…! ’

Jo Gyu-Min had already received the full authority to handle this matter from Hwang Jeong-Hu.
In other words, he now wielded a level of power that not even Director Baek Yeong-Gi enjoyed.
No wonder Jo Gyu-Min was itching to unleash it.

His thoughts were soon shattered by the buzzing of his intercom.
He tapped on the ’answer ’ button.
“Yes, Jo Gyu-Min speaking.”

– Chief Jo, sir.
The Chairman has asked for your presence in his office.

I ’m on my way right now.” Jo Gyu-Min got up while fixing his attire.
He had been meeting Hwang Jeong-Hu at least twice a week lately, but the Chairman still made Jo Gyu-Min nervous every time they came face-to-face.

That nervousness had gotten a bit less severe lately; however, the attempt on Kang Jin-Ho’s life not too long ago made him think otherwise.
Witnessing Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s unbridled rage first-hand helped Jo Gyu-Min sober up and be on his toes once more.

Jo Gyu-Min fixed his clothes, coughed loudly to clear his throat, then exited his office to head straight to the chairman ’s office.
He knocked on the door and waited until the familiar voice telling him to enter rang from inside the office.

Jo Gyu-Min pushed open the door and smartly stepped inside.
Hwang Jeong-Hu got up from behind the desk and walked toward the couch.
After settling down on the seat of honor, he pointed to an empty spot.
“Take a seat, Gyu-Min.”

“Thank you, sir.” Jo Gyu-Min briefly nodded, then sat quietly down.

Hwang Jeong-Hu brought an ashtray in front of him, then started the meeting in earnest.
“Well, then.
What ’s going on with that matter?”

What was Hwang Jeong-Hu asking about here, Jo Gyu-Min briefly wondered.
“Sir, if it ’s regarding the incident involving Miss Se-Ah…”

“I ’ve already given you the full authority on that.
So, I only want to hear the report on the results after the dust has settled.
What I ’m asking about is the matter of making Jin-Ho run a business.”

“Ah, of course.” Jo Gyu-Min sat up straight.
He had to swallow back the words,

’Something is deeply worrying me, Chairman, but… ’

He could only begin his report on the situation.
“I ’ve already acquired Mister Jin-Ho ’s consent, sir.
Now, all we need to do is to find a suitable business venture for him.”

“I see.
Find something challenging and tough to be successful in.
A kind of business with small profit margins and a lot of required labor no matter how smart you think you are.”

Find the original at

“…In that case, a fried chicken store might be the ticket, sir.”

“Mm?” Hwang Jeong-Hu tilted his head in confusion.

“This is what I heard, Chairman.
The fried chicken market is so crowded with large franchises and local mom-and-pop stores that the revenue for everyone is basically in a freefall.
Taking into consideration the cost of interior décor, it ’d be a miracle to recoup the investment, sir.
Even worse, after deducting the wages, the rest would be taken away by the head office, leaving not much profit for the franchisee.”

“Is that right? Only the head office makes money? In that case, who would want to open a franchise?”

“…The truth is, sir, a salaryman quitting his job doesn ’t have a lot of options.
It ’s not like he had acquired special skill sets during his tenure, and all the know-how from years of pushing papers wouldn ’t be much of a help in his daily life, either.
And to open a business of his own would require huge starting funds, which he wouldn ’t have.
So, people with a small budget would inevitably flock to running fried chicken franchises, which is relatively easy to set up.”

“And the various fried chicken companies know this and exploit them?” Hwang Jeong-Hu disapprovingly cocked his eyebrow.
Jo Gyu-Min couldn ’t bring himself to reply and sighed away instead.
Hwang Jeong-Hu joined him and sighed as well.
“After starting Jaegyeong, I have always remained mindful of how to make everyone enjoy a good life.
But I ’m starting to feel that such a thing is no longer the case in our current world.
Employees see their workplace as just a means to earn a living, while companies are constantly on the lookout for new ways to exploit their workers and customers.
That ’s the impression I get these days.”

Jo Gyu-Min nodded to express his agreement.
This opinion was coming from none other than Hwang Jeong-Hu, and no one was more qualified than him to make such an observation.

Jaegyeong was famous for its great employee benefits and no forced ’voluntary ’ resignations, making it one of the best corporations in the country despite its demanding work.
While employees in other corporations had to start worrying about ’retiring ’ around the age of thirty-five, Jaegyeong wasn ’t like that.
Its corporate culture was proudly worlds apart from everyone else.

Jo Gyu-Min chuckled weakly.
“Unfortunately, Chairman, other people are not like you, sir.”

I got lucky in my life.
However, I don ’t think I can do it again given another chance,” said Hwang Jeong-Hu in a hollow-sounding voice.
“That ’s why I ’m expecting a lot from that brat.
He has…
something different about him that sets him apart from the rest, after all.
Either he ’ll turn this company into an even bigger titan or totally ruin it.”

Jo Gyu-Min sighed and shook his head without saying anything.

“And this is a good opportunity to gauge that boy ’s ability.
Make sure to get everything ready.”

“Yes, sir.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu seemed to have thought of something.
“Oh, and there ’s something else.”


“Exclude the fried chicken franchise idea.”

Jo Gyu-Min blinked his eyes in confusion.
Exclude the fried chicken? But, why?

Hwang Jeong-Hu smiled bitterly at his subordinate ’s confused expression.
“I told you to exclude any business ideas where Jin-Ho will definitely succeed, didn ’t I?”

“B-but, sir? There is no guarantee that a fried chicken store will succeed in this day and age.”

“That ’s true…
but we ’re talking about Kang Jin-Ho here.
Listen, a store that can cook and deliver its fried chicken in just over a minute will never go out of business.”

“…Ah.” Jo Gyu-Min ’s mind was suddenly filled with the image of a certain man jumping and dashing across rooftops in the darkness, only faintly illuminated by the cold moonlight.
And that man was carrying a fried chicken delivery bag.
“…You ’re right, sir.
A store that delivers its goods seems unfeasible for Mister Jin-Ho.”

“It might be a jackpot for all the fried chicken lovers in that area, but it ’ll be like a calamity for us.
So, exclude all the business ideas that involve some form of delivery.
But if he insists on opening a store in that field, get him to promise that he will not be involved in the delivery.”

“Understood, sir.
I ’ll engrave it on my heart!” Jo Gyu-Min ’s expression became solemn after realizing that he had just escaped failure by a hair ’s width.
He briefly nodded, then got up to leave.
“Sir, please excuse me.
I will return to my office and finish my planning.”

“Alright, you ’re dismissed.” Hwang Jeong-Hu coolly nodded, and once Jo Gyu-Min left his office, mouthed a cigarette.

’Time for a change, huh… ’

The emotion Hwang Jeong-Hu initially felt after getting up from his sickbed and returning to this position was delight.
However, he soon came to realize something else.

’It ’s the end of the road for me. ’

He could certainly ’maintain ’ Jaegyeong at its current trajectory.
However, even he had to admit that he was too old to mount a new challenge or bring about a revolutionary change to the industry.
Of course, his passion, his drive, still rivaled that of young people in their twenties.
No, maybe his desire burned even stronger than theirs.
However, what he lacked was energy—enough stamina for him to manage every facet of a new business venture, just like what he had done in the past.

Nowadays, he could feel his concentration dropping rapidly after only one hour of work, even though he used to be able to maintain his focus for over twelve hours back in the day.
And this was why Hwang Jeong-Hu realized that the current him couldn ’t possibly reform Jaegyeong.

It wasn ’t that he felt a great attachment or affection to Kang Jin-Ho.
That young man was…
easily the most original human being Hwang Jeong-Hu knew.
Not only was Kang Jin-Ho not restrained by the old-fashioned rules of society, but his thought process also didn ’t seem all that rigid, either.
In that case, it would be correct to distance Jaegyeong from Kang Jin-Ho for it to continue existing as a fairly successful company.

However, Hwang Jeong-Hu personally felt that Kang Jin-Ho ’s strength was necessary for Jaegyeong to transform itself into a top global player.

’But, why… ’ 

Hwang Jeong-Hu stubbed his cigarette on the ashtray before shuddering softly.
“…Why am I so worried?”

It felt like something was amiss, that he was trying to fit a round peg in a square hole.
Hwang Jeong-Hu couldn ’t decipher the identity, the root cause, of this worry, but…
Soon, he ’d come face-to-face with it.


Kang Jin-Ho blinked his eyes.
“A contract?”

Jo Gyu-Min nodded.
“Yes, Mister Jin-Ho.
We might not have settled on the type of business, but that ’s not important right now.
I wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter as well, anyway.”

“I haven ’t given it much thought, though.”

“Well, you can always start now.” Jo Gyu-Min grinned while pushing the contract in Kang Jin-Ho ’s direction.
“This contract simply states that our side will foot the startup cost, Mister Jin-Ho.
You can return the investment cost in six months ’ time when you ’re ready to call it a day.”

“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho contemplatively nodded.

“Please, have a read-through.” Jo Gyu-Min offered his advice.

“I will.” Kang Jin-Ho picked up and slowly perused through the contract.

Jo Gyu-Min watching on sneakily smiled with an unreadable expression.

’Even if it ’s Mister Jin-Ho, I ’m better at this kind of thing than him. ’

Jo Gyu-Min had been reading and dissecting various documents all his adult life.
Compared to him, Kang Jin-Ho had only spent half a semester in Business Management, listening to some basic theories.
So, it was safe to assume that he had absolutely no clue regarding contracts and operating a business.

This opportunity had to be utilized in full to teach Kang Jin-Ho the bitterness of society.
Of course, the amount of money he was about to lose would be trifling to Kang Jin-Ho.
Still, experiencing total failure would be a good life lesson for him.

After all, the purpose of this…
’test ’ wasn ’t to see how much money he had made at the end but how he had managed the business.

Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
“By the way…?”

“Yes?” Jo Gyu-Min responded while still grinning away.

“The conditions listed on this part are a bit weird, don ’t you think?”

The grin on Jo Gyu-Min ’s face froze up.
“…I ’m sorry?”

“Well, you said you ’d help me out with the startup cost, didn ’t you? And I have to return every dime after six months.”

“Yes, that ’s correct.”

“And it says here that you ’ll take into account the store premium, too.”

“Yes, that is also correct.”

Kang Jin-Ho narrowed his eyes.
“But what about the interior decoration costs?”


“According to this contract, I need to recoup the cost of interior decoration in six months, even though it should be several dozen million won.”

Jo Gyu-Min stared at Kang Jin-Ho in a daze, wondering how this young man managed to figure that out so soon.

“Since we ’re thinking of joining a franchise, we ’ll have to foot the initial joining fee, too.
The joining fee and the decoration cost combined should be well over a hundred million, yet you want me to recoup that in six months alongside the initial startup fund?”

“Well, uh…” Jo Gyu-Min forgot what he wanted to say as his hard work wrapping up this deal in a nice-looking package was torn to shreds in mere seconds.

Kang Jin-Ho pulled out a cigarette, mouthed it, then leisurely lit it up.
He took a long puff before releasing the smoke into the atmosphere.
He then stared straight at Jo Gyu-Min.
“I thought Jaegyeong was more upstanding than this, but I guess not.
This must be your standard practice, then?”

Jo Gyu-Min panicked and hurriedly denied it.
“N-no, of course not!”

“But isn ’t this contract basically a scam? I ’m quite disappointed in you, Mister Gyu-Min.”

“I ’m telling you, it ’s not true!”

Kang Jin-Ho tutted, unimpressed.
“Looks like I ’ll have to speak to Chairman Hwang directly.”

“Aigoooo! Mister Jin-Ho, please don’t kill me!” Jo Gyu-Min desperately clung to Kang Jin-Ho after his intention to perform his first-ever counter-offensive in the five years they had known each other just went out the window.

’Kids these days are so scary! ’

Especially this kid! Jo Gyu-Min held back his tears and trudged back to his office like a dejected puppy to revise the contract.

’Fancam ’ is a slang term originating from South Korean idol fandom, and it means amateur footage of a celebrity filmed unofficially by a fan.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like