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Chapter 31: < Protect – Episode 30 – Do Min Ho  >
Ahn Soo Ho just laughed at Jang Seol Hyun’s bombsh.e.l.l announcement.
“Haha. What a jokester.”
“Right? It’s a joke, right?”
s.h.i.+m Il Kwon, whose heart was about to pop out of his mouth, smoothed his chest at Ahn Soo Ho’s natural response. No matter how much Hollywood influenced her, she was still the face of the company. Thanks to her clean history with no rumors about men, advertisers had very high faith in her.
s.h.i.+m Il Kwon seemed relieved, but he quickly went into thought. If they were actually in that kind of relations.h.i.+p and Ahn Soo Ho got into the entertainment business for Jang Seol Hyun, that was a different story. It was surprising that he suddenly appeared as Daesan Group’s executive, but he was someone who would have a strong influence even in Hollywood.
“Is there something between them that I don’t know about?”
s.h.i.+m Il Kwon was FNB Entertainment’s founder and CEO, but he only had 18% of the shares. Of course, if he includes the amity shares, it was over half, but if Daesan wants to buy the company, there was no way of winning. Above all, if it was not Ahn Soo Ho but Jang Seol Hyun who was planning it, he had to reconsider his uncomfortable relations.h.i.+p with Kim Woo Jung.
“I’d better look into it.”
In contrast to Kim Woo Jung, who was a good person, Jang Seol Hyun was very manipulative for her age. He hated Kim Woo Jung for always bringing up the fact that there hadn’t been any talks about a resigning, and the older executives didn’t like the way other employees and celebrities wors.h.i.+ped Jang Seol Hyun.
“Dumb old people.”
As a major shareholder, he pa.s.sed out seats here and there, but the company was in a tough spot. He would like to reshuffle things, but what could he do? In corporations, shares determined power. Especially in the entertainment field where connections were important, being self-willed could easily backfire. However, Daesan Group was different. s.h.i.+nra Group breaking the common law and getting into this business was similar to giving up a fight against other rich people.
“It’s more preferred to share appropriately than fight among the rich.”
People of high society liked to look refined. No matter how much someone succeeded, selling laughter in front of other people looked pathetic.
“Would you like to take a look around, Soo Ho?”
“Huh? Why are you ignoring me?”
Jang Seol Hyun, who threw out a bombsh.e.l.l but got ignored and had no fun, looked dumbfounded Jang Seol Hyun and s.h.i.+m Il Kwon left the room. The main 8-story building of FNB entertainment was an old building, and the 5-story annex was a newly built building on expanded land. The fact that the two buildings combined were worth 70 billion won proved how expensive Gangnam land was.
“We don’t train idols like s.h.i.+nhwa does.”
“Why not? K-pop is doing well abroad these days.”
“I don’t like to gamble.”
Kim Yoo Seon and s.h.i.+m Il Kwon had similar tendencies, but the two of them had very different objectives. s.h.i.+nhwa Entertainment’s method, which was to sell a commodity even if it only had one strength and a dozen weaknesses, was specialized to make a top idol in a short period of time. Kim Yoo Seon’s idol training system was material superiority.
In contrast to s.h.i.+nhwa Entertainment, who charged forward, FNB liked the more old-fas.h.i.+oned method. They thought it was wiser to only sell one talent at a time, whether it was singing, acting, or comedy. The pictures of their top stars in their hallway was the company’s pride.
“What do you think? Aren’t we better than s.h.i.+nhwa Entertainment?”
‘Wouldn’t that be what s.h.i.+m Il Kwon wants to say?’ Ahn Soo Ho laughed on the inside.
“This punk is still deluded.”
Kim Yoo Seon and s.h.i.+m Il Kwon were both misunderstandings something. He wasn’t trying to gain profits from the business. When the employees saw the rarely-seen CEO guiding him through the company, they stared as if they wanted to remember his face.
It was a short distance from the main building to the underground parking lot in the annex.
“Thank you for your wise words today, CEO s.h.i.+m.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it. Our next meeting will probably be the signing, right?”
“I look forward to it.”
s.h.i.+m Il Kwon watched his behavior. Even if he wasn’t an executive of Daesan Group, he was a difficult person to deal with. How many Korean people would have been able to make Steven Baker of Hollywood a tyrant? Not even Kim Daesan of the Daesan Kingdom could do that.
“Until next time.”
“Please get back safely.”
Besides not bowing down 90 degrees, s.h.i.+m Il Kwon was seeing off someone who was above him. Ahn Soo Ho, who got into the car that the driver opened the door to, sighed without meaning to.
Jang Seol Hyun was already in the car.
“Don’t talk so carelessly like that. You surprised me.”
“Oh no. Really? Did I?”
It became natural for them to talk to each other informally. In response to her natural touch of stroking his chin, he was too tired to scold her. Did he make the right decision? Was it better to take over a few clubs instead? The reason why Ahn Soo Ho got pushed around by Jang Seol Hyun wasn’t because he loved her to death.
“Granny, your great-granddaughter is doing well.”
The neighborhood people didn’t think the queen grandmother had a family, but only Ahn Soo Ho knew. Every time Jang Seol Hyun smiles, the granny’s wrinkles could be seen at the same time. Considering Korea National a.s.sociation or Kim Dae San made him realize that the queen grandmother was no ordinary elder.
“What’s Manager Kim going to do?”
As soon as talk about Kim Woo Jung, who was following in a van behind them, came up, Jang Seol Hyun knit her brows.
“He said he doesn’t want to stab anyone in the back.”
“I knew it. Did he get mad?”
Seeing how she was pouting, they must have fought. Ahn Soo Ho was actually relieved. That was because if he immediately accepted it, everything else would have been a lie. One could call it inflexible, but people who change their words were hard to get along with.
“We failed to make Kim Woo Jung the CEO. Then let’s move on to the next plan.”
“Are you going to drag CEO s.h.i.+m into it?”
“He doesn’t seem like an incapable man.”
“I don’t want to. When Manager Kim was getting scolded, all he did was watch.”
At times, she was clever, but this time, she was just throwing a fuss like a kid.
“Since the governance was weak, the CEO can’t do whatever he wants either.”
“But that doesn’t mean I understand how they could kick out the founder so cold-heartedly.”
Jang Seol Hyun unexpectedly stood her ground. It didn’t seem like she intended to back out from this one.
Ahn Soo Ho surrendered.
As soon as she switched over to the van, he headed toward Incheon International Airport. Today was the day when Emily and Rachel would go back to Australia. It was Lee Chul and Lee Mi Hyun’s job to see them off, but since they trusted Ahn Soo Ho to take care of them in Seoul, this was his job.
“See you again, Soo Ho!”
“See you again!”
The two white girls kissed Ahn Soo Ho on the cheek and continued to wave until they disappeared through the gates. Lee So Hye jabbed him on the side.
“Are you happy?”
“I have no interest in kids.”
“Are you a eunuch?”
“Agh! I surrender!”
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho put her in a headlock she hit Ahn Soo Ho’s arm in surprise. This time, it was Lee So Hye’s turn to get on a plane for Jejudo. It wasn’t favorable for her to go around having fun when everyone else was taking supplementary cla.s.ses. Mrs. Park called at least a dozen times a day telling him to send Lee So Hye back to Jejudo.
“When are you going to visit?”
“Can’t me and Mom just come to Seoul and live with you?”
“I wouldn’t mind… but you should talk to Mom about that first. Since you have to enter school, I should probably talk to her. Prepare her before I do.”
“Okay! I’ll do my best.”
Was it possible that the country girl’s dreams changed after coming to Seoul? No one could foretell. As Ahn Soo Ho and his little sister waved to each other until the gate closed, someone approached. He faced the person who stopped the guard from running over and approached.
It reminds him of something.
“Yes…that’s right. Can we talk?”
They entered one of the many cafes at the airport.
“I’m Han Joo Young.”
“Do agents hand out business cards these days?”
“Not to everyone.”
It was a very simple business card with just a name and number.
“You met with the Russian amba.s.sador a few days ago, didn’t you, Mr. Ahn?”
“What did you talk about?”
She didn’t sound forceful. It was more like pitiful? It seemed like she did a background check on him. It was evident that she took extra caution since she wasn’t coming on strong.
“Han Joo Young…? Are you their promising ace?”
The NIS did tend to waste a lot of time, but not all agents were stupid. CIA also wasted their time with unnecessary matters, but no one underestimated them. No matter how small the department, government organizations have a great deal of power.
“I don’t know what your job is, but this isn’t something one agent can deal with, Ms. Han. You can get hurt.”
“If it’s about Korea National a.s.sociation… we know about it too.”
“You do? No, you don’t. Take my warning seriously. There’s nothing you or the person you sent can do.”
Just like how the NIS and the military authorities were inseparable, those with evil influence had been rooted with the NIS for quite a long time.
“I know it’s dangerous. I also knew that the government received secret funds during every election.”
Ahn Soo Ho groaned and shooked his head.
“You have no idea who you’re dealing with, Ms. Han.”
In the midst of the candlelight protest, Korea National a.s.sociation was mentioned here and there in the media, but it didn’t go on for long. Argumentative articles regarding conspiracy theories started pouring out from all four directions.
“This isn’t some kind of social gathering of retired people in power.”
Kim Dae San and Korea National a.s.sociation weren’t totally unrelated. Even though there were cliques depending on faith, at the end of firm kins.h.i.+p, regionalism, and school relations, where special regulations meant for the top 1%.
“They have vested rights to this nation.”
No matter the circ.u.mstances, this was their league, and the power had not once been in the hands of the people. Every time Ahn Soo Ho returned from abroad, those in power trembled in fear. But they didn’t do anything in particular. Why? Because it was a waste of time to try to get revenge? That was not it. The reason why Ahn Soo Ho left Lee Kyung Joon and Lee Ji Heon alone because of his promise with the queen grandmother.
“Give everyone at least one more chance.”
He always gave everyone at least one more chance. No matter how much he hated them. That was Ahn Soo Ho’s rule. It was possible that he wants Lee Kyung Joon and Lee Ji Heon to provoke him first. If that happens he would step on them without any hesitation.
“This is too much for you. Please inform that to your superior.”
It was good that there was an agent with patriotism and sense of duty, but the opponent wasn’t good at all.
“It’s best that you forget the whole thing.”
“Was it the NIS?”
Oh Joo Kyung questioned him about the meeting as they returned to Seoul.
“Do you think Korea National a.s.sociation did that?”
“I don’t think so. If that was the case, they wouldn’t have only sent one agent.”
“Not everyone in an organization thinks the same way. Whether it’s good or bad, there’s always someone who thinks differently. Loyalty and doubt are two different things. Please remember that.”
Decomposition didn’t take place in an instant. Self-purification didn’t either. The biggest evil of bureaucracy was the lack of desire to find a problem. The reason why they avoid the responsibility was because they knew that there was no answer in the organization they were a part of.
“Time solves everything.”
If there was no solution, they believed that forgetting about it would make the problem go away. They hoped that dragging it on would make the one who brought up the problem go away.
Ahn Soo Ho arrived at the most expensive area of Gangnam, Cheongdamdong.
Daesan Star Tower
Daesan Consulting and the department in charge of South America used to utilize the building, but as a result of Vice-President’s group structure reform, everyone had to empty their offices. The 20-story building went for 280 billion won, and the Daesan sign was in the process of getting erased. Ahn Soo Ho looked up at the building and smiled bitterly.
“This is why everyone wants to be rich.”
The rich didn’t have to worry about money.
“The owners.h.i.+p transfer registration will be completed next week.”
“What about the tax?”
“The general affairs department will deal with that.”
Ahn Soo Ho looked around the emptying building, saw a familiar backside in front of the entrance, and then looked at his watch. It was still an hour before the agreed upon time. He left Oh Joo Kyung and his guards behind and walked toward him.
“Oh, Soo Ho!”
Do Min Ho, who looked serious as he looked at his phone, smiled as soon as he saw Ahn Soo Ho.
“You’re really early.”
“I couldn’t wait after hearing that you became the owner of such a tall building. But I had no idea that building would be Star Tower. I was so surprised.”
“I heard FNB and s.h.i.+nhwa will be merged into Star Tower…Huh?”
Do Min Ho, who had large eyes because of his double eyelid surgery, blinked and then dropped his jaw.
“Was that you?”
“I’ve always respected you as if you’re my real brother!”
“Stop it, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”
People could misunderstand two men hugging on the streets. After he got Do Min Ho off of him, he got to the point.
“I’m going to ask Kyung Ho to manage the building.”
“Kyung Ho? Come on! He wouldn’t agree to that.”
“So convince him.”
“Why should I?”
Ahn Soo ho shooked his index finger.
“You need a bigger building in order to succeed.”
“Soo Ho! I’ll be loyal to you for life!”
< Protect – Episode 30 – Do Min Ho  > The end.