t sucking on their thumbs doing nothing while he was sick.
They were obviously doing their best to protect the company.
Even then…
The atmosphere within the company now was remarkably different from when those three were in charge.

The presence of a trusted leader was enough to transform the attitude of all the employees.

'Is this what they call the leader's charisma?' 

Jo Gyu-Min thought.

It wasn't as if Hwang Jeong-Hu had initiated a special measure to save the failing company.
His return alone was enough to revitalize the company like a shot of medicine, and everything was now clicking back to its original position.

“Yes, Chairman.
Here,” said Jo Gyu-Min while handing over a stack of reports.

Hwang Jeong-Hu cocked an eyebrow.
“You still write up physical reports like this?”

“Sir? What do you mean?”

“Do you think we bought those computers to use as paperweights? We specifically installed the electronic reporting system for you lot.
But to think that it's the young ones who are reluctant to use it instead of the old…”

Jo Gyu-Min was slightly taken aback at that.
Hwang Jeong-Hu was almost seventy.
Considering when computers became popular in Korea's corporate environment, the Chairman must have only learned how to use computers in his early fifties.

Most chairmen or chairwomen in that age bracket would stubbornly stick to the old ways of doing things.
Jo Gyu-Min was well aware that old folks who had reached the summit of their respective fields were usually reluctant to learn new things if they could help it. This was why he chose to compile a physical set of documents as his report.

As it turned out, Hwang Jeong-Hu wasn't one of those old folks.
He was a businessman who desired change and progress more than anyone else.

Jo Gyu-Min bowed his head.
“I shall report electronically from now on, sir.”

“Hmm…” Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded, then began perusing the report. “Is this everything?”

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“Yes, Chairman.
According to my investigation, this is all there is to find about Kang Jin-Ho.”

“…I see that he's rather ordinary.”

Jo Gyu-Min was also puzzled about that very point.
The more he investigated, the less important this Kang Jin-Ho seemed to be.
As a matter of fact, that boy was just another high school student commonly found everywhere.
No more, no less.

So, the question was…
Why was Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu so interested in such a normal student? Why did he say ominous things like how that boy was holding his lifeline or something?

Hwang Jeong-Hu asked while still reading the report, “Were there any other notable things about the boy?”

“Sir? When you say other notable things…?”

“For instance, the way he behaves.
Or the way he carries himself…
Something unquantifiable like that.”

Jo Gyu-Min hesitated slightly before replying, “Sir.
He was involved in a car accident recently.”

“Yes, I can see it in the report.”

“And some people have noted that his personality changed after the accident, sir.”

“His personality, is it?”

“Yes, sir.
He used to be cheerful and energetic, but he became less talkative and somewhat moodier after the accident.
Apparently, he's starting to revert back to his old self these days.
It might be nothing more than a temporary change due to a serious accident, sir.


Jo Gyu-Min swallowed his saliva first before replying to the Chairman, “He…
The boy gives off strange vibes, sir.”

“Strange vibes? How so?” Hwang Jeong-Hu seemed intrigued by that reply.

“I wanted to see what the actual person was like, not the one on the paper, so I tried to tail him a couple of times, sir.
It felt like I was the one being monitored, not the other way around.”

“Wait, you were the one tailing the boy, yet you thought you were being monitored instead?”

“I know it sounds strange, sir.
But that's what it really felt like.”

“I see.” Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded, then began reading the second report.
“Hmm? Dongmyeong Foundation, is it?”

“Yes, Chairman.
It's the educational foundation running the high school where Kang Jin-Ho is studying.”

This old fart of a Chief Director is trying to harm Kang Jin-Ho, is that it?”

“Yes, sir.
It seems that Kang Jin-Ho had an issue with that man's grandson.
It has already gone beyond the level of harming Kang Jin-Ho, sir.
That Chief Director even pressured the companies Kang Jin-Ho's parents had worked for and got them fired as well.
The boy's parents have found new jobs, but the Chief Director seems to be making another move against them.”

“Is that right?” A grin slowly formed on Hwang Jeong-Hu's face.

Jo Gyu-Min found that grin somewhat frightening.

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Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded.
“Good work.”

“Thank you, sir.”

‘The Chairman has praised me!’

Jo Gyu-Min felt his heart flutter. But all of a sudden, he had an epiphany—he had finally figured out why Hwang Jeong-Hu's subordinates that had gone through the proverbial thick and thin with him were so loyal to him.
Such praise shouldn't have meant anything important, yet Jo Gyu-Min still felt his emotions boil with excitement.

Hwang Jeong-Hu happily muttered, “This is exactly what I've been looking for.
With this, I might score some brownie points with him.”

“…?” Jo Gyu-Min couldn't understand, but he still chose to bow his head.

“Have you investigated this Dongmyeong Foundation, too?”

“I haven't compiled a report yet, sir.
I thought it was not as urgent, sir.
However, I made sure to collect all the relevant information.”

“And so? Are they iron-tight?”

“Financially, yes, they are.
However, it's only their finances that look iron-tight, sir. They seem to be rife with corruption.
As such, even a little nudge at the right spot will bring the whole thing down, sir.”

“Is that right? In that case…” Hwang Jeong-Hu slowly nodded.
Then, he got up from his large chair.
“Let's get going.”

“Sir?” Jo Gyu-Min stared blankly at his boss.
Where on earth were they supposed to go? “Chairman, I…
I'm not sure where you'd like to go, sir.”

“That's disappointing.” Hwang Jeong-Hu knocked Jo Gyu-Min's head lightly.
“A young man like you shouldn't be such a slow-witted fella.
Obviously, we're going to Dongmyeong High. Where else should we go then?”

“Sir? You mean, right now?”

“Some things in this world shouldn't be delayed.
It'll only lead to a loss if you do.
Right now, it's time to make a move.
I have a hunch, you see.”

“Allow me to accompany you, sir.” Jo Gyu-Min quickly stepped in front of Hwang Jeong-Hu before leading the way.

The grand doorway of the Chairman's office opened wide.
When Hwang Jeong-Hu stepped outside, the company's employees and the secretaries manning their posts hurriedly got up and bowed their heads deeply in his direction.

Hwang Jeong-Hu wordlessly studied them while walking toward his exclusive elevator.


Whether it was the company or the superficial customs like this…
They were all outdated in his view.
Hwang Jeong-Hu might be an old man now, but he still felt sick and tired of such things.

I shouldn't rush things.
Indeed, this sandcastle had been the result of my hastiness.
I should gradually secure and widen the foundation first.'

For now, it was time to build the most important foundation of them all—Kang Jin-Ho.
His existence should become the most important foundation for the Jaegyeong Group.

Hwang Jeong-Hu felt certain of his thoughts, so he picked up his pace.


Classical Chinese in the Korean context ☜

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