“This tea is rather excellent, isn't it” said Hwang Jeong-Hu while bringing his nose close to the teacup in front of his face.
He slowly savored its aroma before sitting back.
Baek Yeong-Gi tilted his head.
“Sir, do you really think that”
“Well, I figured that's what I'm supposed to say.”
“Somehow, I knew you'd say that, sir.” Baek Yeong-Gi covered his mouth while chuckling away.
It was rather unfortunate, but Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu didn't have a single artistic bone in his body.
Ditto for enough patience to last a tea-drinking ceremony.
Even if top-quality tea were provided, Hwang Jeong-Hu would rather drink cheap instant coffee.
He would also remain disinterested when viewing a multi-million dollar art masterpiece.
Some among the top 1% of Korea, the so-called 'Royal Families,’ dared to look down on Hwang Jeong-Hu as an uncultured money-hungry fool.
However, Baek Yeong-Gi personally preferred this Hwang Jeong-Hu.
'There is no pretense with Chairman Hwang, after all.'
Hwang Jeong-Hu never bothered to build up a facade, a public image, for himself.
Unlike other chaebols who did all sorts of groan-inducing nonsense to look a bit more 'cultured' and 'dignified' in public, Hwang Jeong-Hu remained practically the same as in his younger days, back when he came to Seoul to set up his manufacturing business.
This tea-drinking session was a good indicator.
The Pu'er tea was an expensive gift from a business partner, yet Hwang Jeong-Hu didn't spare it much thought and gulped it down like a glass of water.
The chairman's attitude made Baek Yeong-Gi chuckle involuntarily.
Despite displaying his lack of enthusiasm earlier, Hwang Jeong-Hu still went ahead and drank this tea anyway, saying it was against etiquette to let a present rot away unused.
“Understood, Chairman.” Baek Yeong-Gi quickly brewed the instant coffee mix prepared ahead of time and brought it to Hwang Jeong-Hu.
Hwang Jeong-Hu tutted while taking a sip of the coffee.
“I still don't get why people insist on drinking tea.
Why don't they drink water instead”
“Sir, drinking tea is worth every moment to those who enjoy it.”
“What about booze, then Wouldn't that be better”
Baek Yeong-Gi chuckled and gently reminded his boss.
“You also don't like expensive alcohol, sir.
Haven't you been chugging down soju and makgeolli for three decades straight”
“What can I do when I like them the best I can't throw away money by buying something expensive that I don't even like, right”
Baek Yeong-Gi shook his head and raised the proverbial white flag.
Hwang Jeong-Hu ignored that and got to the main topic of their meeting.
Have they arrived safely”
I received the report from the Guangzhou branch, saying that the department head had personally gone out to pick them up, sir.”
“Hmm...” Hwang Jeong-Hu rubbed his chin.
His coarse stubble tickled the tips of his fingers.
“I don't get it.
Why did that boy want to go to China”
“Are you worried about him, sir”
“Worried, my foot!” Hwang Jeong-Hu harrumphed loudly and powerfully.
“Why would I be worried about some brat like him!”
Baek Yeong-Gi was having a hard time trying to suppress his laughter.
He eventually calmed down as more sobering thoughts entered his head.
'Would things have been different if the chairman behaved like this in the past'
Hwang Jeong-Hu had always been ruthless and cold toward his own family.
He put his sons through a rigorous training regime fit for future kings.
When his flesh and blood failed to meet his expectations, he unhesitantly got angry and punished them.
Perhaps that story would have been different if he had daughters, but he didn't, and that was how he had treated his family until now.
Baek Yeong-Gi began to wonder about something just then.
What if Hwang Jeong-Hu displayed just a fraction of his 'affection' toward Kang Jin-Ho to his sons all those years ago Would his relationship with his kids be different from the current mess
'...It's pointless to ponder that now.'
Hwang Jeong-Hu as a person was—a man who dedicated every fiber of his being to his company.
A man who found his worth through the success of his company.
Yes, he was that kind of a person.
That was why his family or anything else couldn't find a room in his life.
If Hwang Jeong-Hu cared about Kang Jin-Ho, it probably had nothing to do with Kang Jin-Ho's value as a fellow human being.
No, the chairman must have determined that the young man would be a great help to Jaegyeong in some capacity.
'I still don't know what he sees in that young man...'
Baek Yeong-Gi licked his lips while recalling Kang Jin-Ho's figure.
To him, that young man came across as nothing more than a regular university student.
Sure, Kang Jin-Ho would sometimes display a surprisingly mature side unbefitting his age, but other than that...
He didn't seem to possess any outstanding ability or skillset that would draw Hwang Jeong-Hu's interest to this degree.
Obviously, Hwang Jeong-Hu's eyes of discernment wouldn't be worse than Baek Yeong-Gi's.
Which meant there had to be something Baek Yeong-Gi wasn’t aware of.
Hwang Jeong-Hu asked a question, oblivious to Baek Yeong-Gi's inner train of thoughts, “Have you spoken to the Chinese about this situation”
We've approached the CCP on a corporate level to alert them.
We also asked for assistance from our partner groups in China just in case.
I don't foresee any problems as long as Mister Kang doesn't suddenly decide to assault someone in broad daylight, sir.”
“Hah, this fella! Unless that boy's gone mad, he wouldn't suddenly do things like that in another country!”
“Hahaha. Sir, that was just a figure of speech.
Knowing that young man, I'm sure there won't be any issues.”
“Hah. Being silly at your age, eh”
Hwang Jeong-Hu and Baek Yeong-Gi laughed together while drinking their coffee.
Nam Sang-Hyeok was hiding below a table while shielding his head.
'How the heck did this happen!'
He could see actual people flying through the air above him.
To be clear, they weren't 'flying' per se, but they were being thrown around instead!
Seriously now, who the heck is that kid!'
That young man, Kang Jin-Ho, was supposed to be the VIP the head office wanted Nam Sang-Hyeok to handle with utmost care.
The head office had never issued an order like that before, so Nam Sang-Hyeok had wondered if Chairman Hwang's hidden child or grandson was coming.
And he thought his guess had been proven right when this young man showed up with Chief Secretary Jo Gyu-Min by his side.
Wasn't the Office of Jaegyeong's Secretaries often referred to as the true hidden 'power' of the company
But now, Nam Sang-Hyeok was seriously considering changing his guess.
“Aaaah! T-that crazy kid...!”
That young man, Kang Jin-Ho, looked sane and ordinary on the outside.
As it turned out, though, he was anything but sane!
Nam Sang-Hyeok saw Kang Jin-Ho's photo and inwardly remarked about how frail he looked.
This Kang kid had to be an heir to the throne that had been raised like a flower in a greenhouse.
However, the person in question gave off a rather different vibe in the flesh.
Nam Sang-Hyeok had been lamenting inwardly that—after dedicating so many years to the company—he was now being forced to work as a lowly 'personal attendant' of some brat still wearing his diapers.
That frail-looking kid had suddenly picked a fight with the local hoodlums, then started overturning the entire diner to cause unbridled chaos!
Nam Sang-Hyeok cried out again, “Just what the heck is going on here!”
“...I'm sure he has his reasons,” said Jo Gyu-Min in a relaxed tone of voice.
“Mister Jo! Does that scene make you think that Mister Kang has a plan! And if he has one, I'd like to know what it is!”
“...He must have his reasons.” Jo Gyu-Min simply repeated himself.
“Gimme a freaking break! Seriously now!” Nam Sang-Hyeok cried out desperately while staring at the preternaturally-calm Jo Gyu-Min.
If a person he was accompanying caused a massive scene, shouldn't he at least show some signs of fluster as a courtesy Yet, Jo Gyu-Min was sitting relaxedly on his chair to spectate the chaos as if this whole thing was a movie set.
'Does he think this is Korea!'
Even if China had become a lot more modernized and civilized lately, primitive barbarism still existed in the shadows of this country.
What if they carelessly got entangled with the Triad, for instance...
A sashimi knife flew in and stabbed deep into the table mere inches away from Nam Sang-Hyeok's face, causing him to scream in fright.
What in God's name was happening in this damn place! Nam Sang-Hyeok raised his head in Kang Jin-Ho's direction. ‘Y-you, you crazy bastard! Stop trying to shoot a martial arts movie just because you are in China!’
Unfortunately, Nam Sang-Hyeok couldn't say those words out loud.
Such was the sorrow of a salaryman working for a large corporation.
“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho slightly furrowed his brow while observing the weapon-wielding hoodlums rushing at him.
The first thing he did was land two clean strikes on the abdomen and chin of a tattoo-covered hoodlum in front of the pack.
The strikes issued pleasant-sounding impact noises.
The unconscious hoodlum collapsed forward, and Kang Jin-Ho lightly kicked him away.
The hoodlums freaked out when one of their own flew toward them.
However, they still managed to catch the unconscious man.
Why wouldn't they be stunned by what happened Where could they see a human being fly across the air unless it was in some martial arts action movie
“退。。。退後！” (Back off!)
The hoodlums finally realized that the handsome, naive-looking young man before their eyes was no pushover, and they began to stumble back.
Kang Jin-Ho cracked his neck from left to right, which issued chilling bone-cracking sounds.
Wasn't this the second time since his return to the modern era that he got to fight someone Indeed, it was; the last time he got to exchange blows with someone else was that attempted sexual assault incident back when he was still in high school.
He had utilized his cultivation a few times between then and now, but those didn't count.
'Although it didn't feel like I was being attacked back then, just like now...'
These opponents were too weak to get Kang Jin-Ho's blood pumping, but being able to move his muscles for the first time in a while left him with a refreshed feeling.
“If you don't want to come at me, I'll come to you instead.” Kang Jin-Ho harrumphed and began to stride brazenly toward the hoodlums, forcing them to stumble back cautiously as panic slowly bloomed on their faces.
Despite wielding scary-looking weapons and boasting dozens of people on their side, none of them dared to make any rash moves.
This was understandable, considering dozens of their comrades were currently collapsed on the floor with foams bubbling out of their mouths.
“Nothing will change just because you hang back,” said Kang Jin-Ho.
Suddenly, Jo Gyu-Min called out from somewhere behind him in the diner, “Mister Jin-Ho!”
“...Yes” Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head and glanced behind him.
Jo Gyu-Min shouted at him, “You're speaking Korean, you know! Talk to them in Chinese!”
“...Oh.” Kang Jin-Ho inwardly went…
‘Oops, he's right.
I'm in China…’
To him, China felt like Korea and vice versa.
Something about this place felt familiar, making him momentarily forget that he was in another country.
In that case...
What was the Chinese for I'm coming to you'
Kang Jin-Ho stood still and began pondering something.
This sudden break in the action left the hoodlums even more flustered, and they exchanged confused glances with one another, wondering what to do next.
They couldn't figure out why this young man decided to stop and think in the middle of a fight.
“我來了。” (I'm coming.)
It seemed he was still not proficient enough to say, 'If you don't want to come at me, I'll come to you instead.’ Kang Jin-Ho could only chuckle hollowly before charging at the hoodlums.
Kang Jin-Ho’s charging figure prompted the hoodlums to tightly grip their weapons and roar like desperate madmen before pouncing on him.
Kang Jin-Ho definitely heard the hoodlums shouting, “Kill him!” However, their shouts were also interspersed with what he assumed to be local slang, making it near impossible to understand anything else.
This was when Kang Jin-Ho finally learned that profanities were indeed the fastest among human words to change to match the era.
Kang Jin-Ho used the back of his hand to lightly flick away the lengthy sashimi blade aimed at his face, then threw a quick punch to the hoodlum's unguarded head.
Next, he unhesitantly stomped on the hoodlums’ legs foolishly throwing themselves in his way.
As the hoodlums toppled forward, he deftly kicked their unguarded chins in quick succession.
And, at the same time—
Kang Jin-Ho's mood instantly improved, and his lips arched in an unrestrained grin as he powerfully charged forward using a sleek movement technique.
Yes! This was it! It didn't matter whether his opponents boasted high cultivation or not.
Regardless of their level of resistance, Kang Jin-Ho still felt like his repressed thirst was being quenched as he moved.
What was the point of mastering martial arts and improving his cultivation It was inevitable that he would seek a place, an opportunity, to unleash it.
Even if his current action amounted to nothing more than a slaughter of the powerless!
Kang Jin-Ho accurately struck the chins, sides, and abdomens of his targets.
One strike for one opponent, no exceptions.
He didn't seem to be moving all that fast, yet he still advanced forward while felling an opponent with a single flick of his hands.
The fallen hoodlums remained on the ground while moaning and whimpering in pain, unable to get back to their feet again.
Almost none of them had lost consciousness, but the pain seemed too intense for them to even think about getting up.
“Hmm…” Kang Jin-Ho slowly sucked in a deep breath.
This brief bout of activity managed to warm him up just a little.
He looked at his front and saw exactly five hoodlums still remaining on their feet.
“來。。。Hmm” Kang Jin-Ho was about to tell the five hoodlums to hurry up and come at him, but he changed his mind.
He scanned the ground around him, then beckoned at the hoodlums.
Kang Jin-Ho pointed at the collapsed, whimpering bodies, then gestured at the still-standing hoodlums to take their friends away.
The frightened hoodlums hurriedly nodded to say they understood.
Kang Jin-Ho smirked at them, then leisurely turned around to return to Jo Gyu-Min's table.
“...Welcome back, Mister Jin-Ho.
You worked hard out there,” said Jo Gyu-Min.
He did expect this outcome to a degree, but witnessing it still left behind a sizable shock to his senses.
How could it not, when Kang Jin-Ho had just made short work of several dozen weapon-wielding thugs
“W-why did you do this, Mister Kang” Nam Sang-Hyeok hurriedly stood up and asked.
“Beating up those folks doesn't mean it's the end of our troubles, you know! Soon, even more of their sort will show up, Mister Kang!”
Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded.
“That's exactly it.”
“I… I'm sorry”
“It's the old idiom of rustling the grass to scare the snake out.
Now that the grass has been...
properly pummeled, the snakes will now slink out of their hiding place.”
“Huh” Nam Sang-Hyeok couldn't make heads or tails of what this young man was even saying.
Even though Kang Jin-Ho could see that Nam Sang-Hyeok required a follow-up explanation, he didn't feel compelled to provide one.
Instead, he picked up his bag and got ready to depart.
“Shall we get going, then”
“Please compensate the diner for all the damages we caused.”
“U-understood, Mister Kang,” Nam Sang-Hyeok nodded in a daze, then muttered to himself while watching Kang Jin-Ho leisurely leave the diner ahead of his companions, “But, uh... Doesn't that idiom also mean needlessly scaring the snake could get you bitten”
Whether things would work out according to Kang Jin-Ho's prediction or not...
Nam Sang-Hyeok couldn't control his ever-increasing anxiety while thinking about it.
rice wine ☜