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Chapter 142: < Protect – Episode 141 – Angola  >
“Why is it always in the trillions? Does he really have that kind of money?”
While the Korean society was going crazy over yet another bomb Ahn Soo Ho unleashed, he roamed around without any worries. Kang Joon, who was a part of the 8-member group as an IT expert, wasn’t so happy about his issue-making friend’s visit.
“Why are you so cranky?”
“Because I have a lot of things to worry about because of you.”
“It’s not like I asked you to lend me money.”
“They swarmed in like dogs.”
As soon as the human rights groups, civic groups, and religious groups couldn’t get their hands on Hosoo Entertainment, they changed their target to Kang Joon, who was rumored to have some money. As someone who was operating a multiplatform portal for internet users, he couldn’t help but feel perplexed.
“Are you in the stock market?”
“Are you looking down on me? We might not stand a chance against Naver, but we’re still pretty successful.”
“Naver? I only know about Google.”
“Ha! Good for you, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”
Ahn Soo Ho really only knew about Google. He only started using Kakao Talk once he started dating Jang Seol Hyun.
“You’re not the type to visit just to say hi. What is it?”
“You’re so stiff. What if I did come to just see my friend?”
“You saw my face plenty during the talk show.”
Ahn Soo Ho clapped his hands and laughed. The biggest beneficiaries of the talk show weren’t Ahn Soo Ho or Jang Seol Hyun, but it was actually the Do brothers and the 8-member group. Of course, the fantastic 4 including Ahn Da Sol got some exposure as well, but not as much as the Do Brothers and the 8-member group.
“You should do your business and the broadcasting work at the same time. It’s good for marketing.”
Kim Soo Jung wasn’t a star producer, but she was still pretty famous, and Han Kyung Il’s face was quite well-known as the heroic diplomat. And for Jung Sol Ji, she had always been successful as the aide to a member of the national a.s.sembly, and Kim Min s.h.i.+k was a hot topic in Korea for his whistleblowing incident. The reason why the beautiful doctor, Choi Jung Yeon, the former police, Yoon Chul, and the final puzzle, Kang Joon was being mentioned in the news so often was because of their impressive experience but mainly because of Ahn Soo Ho.
“You might be busier, but I’m a busy person, too, Soo Ho. Get straight to the point.”
“The point? Okay. I don’t know the details either, but I need a professional to help me put on a worldwide voting on the internet.”
“Are you really going to do it?”
Not many people actually believed that Ahn Soo Ho was going to ask the world who was uglier. However, Kang Joon was sure he knew him well. Ahn Soo Ho was the type of person who meant what he said.
“I don’t know about Korea, but the whole world…? Maybe you should just ask Google.”
“That was my initial plan, but I’m not sure if that’ll be necessary anymore.”
Whether it was now or later, he was bound to run into doing a trial-and-error. If that was the case, there was no reason to postpone it for later.
“Are you going to leave it to us?”
“We’ll cover all of the expenses.”
Ahn Soo Ho gave him a USB containing the business plan, and Kang Joon took it and took a look at it on the computer. This wasn’t just any ordinary event. He was planning to hold a variety of compet.i.tions and maintain long-term marketing around the whole world.
“We’ll need a server expansion, and in order to connect it to the rest of the world, we’ll need base facilities. Who’s going to pay for that?”
“Will 10 billion be enough?”
“You crazy b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”
The curse words came out automatically. Traffic wasn’t just about expanding the server in Korea. But 10 billion dollars was more than enough to resolve the problem. He did hear that he paid more than 20 trillion won in tax dollars, but even as a friend, he had no idea just how much money Ahn Soo Ho had.
‘It’s not like he has a cash-making machine.’
Did no finance professional in Korea have any idea that Korea was overflowing with money like this? As a stock trader himself, Kang Joon just shook his head.
“Aside from infra, what about security? If you’re going to open a big event, there will be all sorts of crazy hackers.”
“I’ll take care of that.”
He had Alexa and Kosino, and if they weren’t enough, he could get help from Cranky, too.
Kang Joon sank deep into thought.
“Are you asking me to work under you?”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I feel like there will be a lot of talk about special treatment though…”
There was a lot of sensation surrounding the positions and scale of Hosoo Entertainment. The broadcasting industry was especially excited, and since even the cleaning ladies were given full-time jobs, Ahn Soo Ho was being showered with praise. From the citizens’ point of view, lots of money was a good thing, but there were downfalls as well.
Kang Joon had no idea what Ahn Soo Ho was planning. If he increased the scale so quickly in such manner, something was bound to go wrong. It was good when they lend a person a lot of money, but once there was a liquidity issue, everything could fall down like dominos.
Ahn Soo Ho smirked after seeing his face.
“You’ve always talked about how the rich need to be reformed.”
“So how are you going to do it? The government? The politicians? The labor groups? It’s not like the rich will volunteer to do it unless they lose their minds.”
“Will popular opinion not be enough?”
“Don’t you dare say power comes from the citizens themselves.”
It was obvious but not so obvious at the same time.
It was the politicians’ job to take this uncomfortable truth and package it in a nice way. Ahn Soo Ho thought it was almost impossible for the reformation to take place with just an agreement alone. People were unable to put away what they already have. If that was possible then they would have been proclaimed as saints a long time ago already.
“Since the start is wrong, it’s foolish to expect the ending to be good.”
It wasn’t easy to reform the rich in Korea, but people talked about it as if it was an easy thing. They thought the country would be much better to live in if the rich just disappeared.
“You can’t obtain anything without pain.”
“Do you think the rich are the foundation of the Korean economy, Soo Ho?”
“No, but if the rich disappear, someone else will take their place.”
Whether that was having more rich people or not was up to the will of the government and the citizens.
“But don’t think that there won’t be any pain or chaos while getting rid of the rich, and those who end up in pain because of it will want to kill those who asked for the reform. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the better or not. No one wants to lose their own job and make their family miserable. There’s no such thing as logic and rationality to those with rage and hatred.”
Was it fair to push pain upon some people in order to do something right? That was why it was impossible to get a perfect justice. The standards of good and evil were vague. Korea thought of Doctor Ahn Joong Geun as an amazing political activist, but j.a.pan saw him as a terrorist.
“The rich are smart and cunning. If they were dumb, they wouldn’t have become rich in the first place. They’ve always believed that they could control Korea as long as they had 10% of the citizens’ support, and it has worked for them until now.”
The rich didn’t care about the poor. People in the middle cla.s.s and above took up a small portion of the population, but it was enough to control the country.
“You think the reformation of the rich will fail.”
“If nothing changes, that is.”
When Ahn Soo Ho pointed at himself, Kang Joon tilted his head.
“Why aren’t the so-called “great rich people” attacking me?”
“I’m not sure. Because you’re close to Chairman Kim Dae San maybe?”
“Because you’re an international superstar?”
Ahn Soo Ho shook his head.
“Because they don’t want to die hideously.”
“They don’t want to die hideously?”
“Yeah. It’s a simple reason.”
There was no guarantee that their money, the law, their connections, and their guards could stop Ahn Soo Ho. If he really wanted to, he could kill them while s.h.i.+tting or having s.e.x with a woman. No one wanted to die in a hideous way.
“My friend is really a psychopathic serial killer.”
Ahn Soo Ho lifted his middle finger in response.
“Are you going to do it or not?”
“I guess I should do it if I don’t want to die.”
He was partly joking. The 8-member group didn’t ask any questions, but they knew that Ahn Soo Ho was behind the downfall of the Korea National a.s.sociation as well as the Comradery a.s.sociation.
‘Does Soo Ho want to become a dictator?’
Kang Joon asked himself that, but the answer was no. If Ahn Soo Ho wanted to be a dictator, it was more useful for him to become friends with the rich than keep the 8-member group around.
The two shook hands.
It was the start of a new year.
The end of a year was filled with lots of talk and stress, family and friends gathered to talk about their regret as well as their resolutions. The fact that they were able to diss each other about being able to fulfill it proved just how close they were. Ahn Soo Ho stepped back and looked at everyone chatting.
There were Koreans, foreigners, friends—who weren’t invited, and business-related persons. There was no point in what kind of relations.h.i.+p was best. It was possible for a business relations.h.i.+p to turn into the best friends.h.i.+p.
‘My wealth is not money or reputation.’
The people in front of him was his real wealth. People who would follow him off a cliff until the very end.
In response to Logan’s calling, Ahn Soo Ho looked at Jang Seol Hyun who was taking care of the family. She was looking at him too and ended up meeting gazes. Ahn Soo Ho nodded and Jang Seol Hyun gave him a look that was acknowledging him.
They turned around and went down to the parking lot. The only reason why no one noticed the star of the party disappear wasn’t just because of the magic. As the wife-to-be of Ahn Soo Ho, Jang Seol Hyun’s status became elevated, and at this gathering of family and friends, it didn’t really matter if Ahn Soo Ho disappeared.
They got into a car and took off.
“It takes around 12 hours to get to Little Rock, Arkansas, and the helicopter will take off in just over 10 minutes.”
“What about the funeral preparations?”
“The funds have been deposited through the US government.”
Money wasn’t a problem.
The money that Michael had until his death was going to be split up between his parents and siblings. They were probably going to be surprised by how much it was. In contrast to mercenaries who got involved with women, gambling, drugs, and alcohol, Ahn Soo Ho’s team provided stable funding.
Some might ask what kind of mercenaries work while worrying about their retirement, but Ahn Soo Ho’s team was different. He didn’t think of mercenaries as suicide bombers standing at the edge of a cliff. Michael’s death was an unlucky accident. The government normally didn’t care for a mercenary’s death, but the White House and New York City advertised his death as that of a hero.
New York City confirmed that he sacrificed his life while helping refugees and little kids seek shelter during the terrorist attack. There were probably lots of heroes that outs.h.i.+ned him in New York, but in Arkansas, Michael was the best. One man who was not too special suddenly turned into a hero overnight.
American funerals were Christian whether people liked it or not. There were more funerals than weddings at churches to the point where people said they made most of their money from death.
“One poet said that humans are not islands. Will we be able to find the meaning of that today? Michael Lee Debon’s death was tragic, but he proved that there’s still justice on this land. Michael wasn’t a successful politician or a businessman with a vision. However, Michael’s death had the ability to unite everyone as one.”
The priest didn’t bother reciting a line from the bible.
“I didn’t know him in person. Unfortunately, I never got the chance. However, from seeing everyone here today, I can tell that he was a great man.”
Ahn Soo Ho, who was standing way at the back, thought the last line was the most memorable.
‘He lived as a hero and died as a person.’
He first wondered if it was backward, but in America, the electricians, fund managers, and football stars all thought they were the best. But once the prom queen and king got out of high school, they were just one of many people. Living as a hero and dying as a person was historic and a praise in the democratic society.
The burial began.
The ones holding Michael’s coffin were relatives he didn’t know. Michael’s father’s name was also Michael. It appeared that the Michael they knew was Michael Jr. He saw Ahn Soo Ho standing way at the back and knitted his brows. However, it wasn’t out of negative feelings.
“What are you doing back here?”
“I don’t want to ruin the lovely funeral.”
“We don’t resent you, you know.”
His parents were just thankful that Ahn Soo Ho let their son live like a proper human being. As soon as he exited the church, there was a grand spectacle. In the funeral procession, there were more people from the outside than local residents. The way the mercenaries wore their own national uniforms and paid respects made the other people tear up.
As soon as the police siren led the funeral car, many other cars followed. There were also residents sprinkling flower petals to make sadness into happiness. Everyone was holding American flags. Ahn Soo Ho was jealous of this part about America. He didn’t step forward even when the coffin was being buried. Other mercenaries stood a distance away and saw off Michael for the very last time.
“That was a beautiful funeral, Soo Ho.”
James Black approached and started the conversation first.
“Yeah. It was.”
“The White House invited you. They want to see you as soon as possible.”
He minded him but didn’t forget to say what was on his mind.
“Is it a problem regarding Charlotte?”
He needed to control the political world of Korea from now on, so Ahn Soo Ho wanted her experience and expertise.
“Has it been a long time since you were in DC?”
“Probably around 5 years.”
After he destroyed the security system that the American army and citizens were proud of, Ahn Soo Ho wasn’t too keen about visiting Was.h.i.+ngton D.C.
“Should I go there secretly again?”
“Don’t do that. You’ll make people die of a heart attack.”
If the White House would get breached again, then someone’s neck was going to be sliced off.
“Oh yeah! Charlotte was invited to the White House, too. Along with the Democratic party and the Republican party.”
“They’re trying to put an end to this, huh?”
Starting from Allen Davis’ abuse of authority to Scott Davis’ terror, all the newspaper articles started negative discussions about them. They were seeing Scott in the same light as the a.s.sa.s.sin who killed Kennedy. James looked around and then whispered in Ahn Soo Ho’s ears.
“The American army is preparing to invade Nigeria soon.”
< Protect – Episode 141 – Angola  > The end.