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Chapter 67: < Protect – Episode 66 – Shanghai Express >
China’s stance in the BRICS summit could be understood by looking at the Olympics that was opened in 2008. Anyone that gets in their way was removed. Since they were even willing to detain foreigners, it was difficult to mess with them if one wanted public peace.
As soon as Ahn Soo Ho and Shun May went into battle mode, public peace enforcement also appeared. However, it seemed as though they were suggesting that they fought somewhere else instead. It didn’t seem like Kurshenbai was the only one with connections with the public inst.i.tution. Seeing how they were making it seemed like a martial arts show, they made it clear that they were going to use it to their advantage if stopping it was too difficult.
It probably seemed like a movie was being shot or a street event to other people. Kung Fu and martial arts were still known as mysterious, magic, and oriental to those from abroad. Bruce Lee was a legend. In Hong Kong, at least. Whether it was intentional or accidental, the talents of the Hong Kong movie business went to China after England took Hong Kong.
Shun May chose to kick first.
Her legs were long. The way she kicked made her legs looked like they could extend far into the sky. Bare hand fights without the use of weapons were fully capable of leaving the fighters wounded. Chinese martial arts included more standing blows than ground skills, so it was very exciting to watch. That was why foreigners often called martial arts a sport rather than a skill, capable in murdering people.
The repeated attacks following the kick were very sharp. Ahn Soo Ho was busy blocking the blows. They said Superman didn’t exist, but he was capable of becoming one. He was able to transcend all human abilities and exert fatal blows of explosive power.
He was able to kill the other person with just one punch. However, there were many eyes watching, so he controlled himself. They should be indebted to him for being so cooperative.
Shun May made an elongated attack.
How could one call it a sport when she was only attacking his pressure points? All fighting techniques a.s.sumed murder as the final result. They bring up the law of the universe and whatnot, but Ahn Soo Ho didn’t believe in such a refined truth. To him, it seemed like nothing more than a height comparison.
There were limits to a person’s stamina.
He started to see Shun May’s moves slowing down. Ahn Soo Ho went into contemplation. Would he be able to win this fight without embarra.s.sing himself or her? The way Ahn Soo Ho was blocking her moves without moving a single inch overpowered Shun May’s attacks.
His effortless moves looked like a scene from an action movie. He heard whistling and clapping. The viewers probably thought the fight was over. Shun May gathered her last remaining strength and gave a good kick, while Ahn Soo Ho leaped up. How far was a person able to jump with average human muscles?
He added flavor with some gravity magic.
He flew like a b.u.t.terfly 4 to 5 meters into the air. People were at awe by his jump, which wasn’t a.s.sisted by a crane. Shun May watched him with big eyes. He didn’t use a wall, but simply jumped into the air to that height. It was truly unbelievable.
Clap, clap, clap-
As soon as one person started clapping, an applause came from all four directions. As soon as Ahn Soo Ho approached, Shun May fixed her posture. He responded.
“Shall we go for some tea?”
Jang Seol Hyun would have thrown a fit to that, but he didn’t have an ulterior motive. They followed the path to a tea shop. Shun May didn’t say a word until then, and a man accompanied them.
“My name is Chang Ming, Master.”
In China, calling someone Master was a sign of respect. However, if they really respected and looked up to someone, they called them Boss. Come to think of it, Yuhaipung referred to Kurshenbai as Master. He looked over it thinking it was a way of protecting his dignity, but it didn’t seem right.
‘The Chinese sure are complicated.’
The Communist Party probably didn’t all have the same beliefs.
“I’ll get straight to the point. I don’t want to get involved.”
“You’re just as straight forward as I heard. I wasn’t going to make a difficult request.”
“Then why did you start a fight in broad daylight? You obviously did that with an objective. I don’t know who you are, but I’d rather not be used.”
He said it softly, but it was a strong warning. Chang Ming was taken aback, so Shun May spoke up.
“How much do you know about the Cultural Revolution?”
“I don’t know much, but I know it was a rare and crazy thing to do.”
“I see. Is that what South Korea thinks in general?”
Ahn Soo Ho shrugged instead of giving an answer. She nodded.
“Ever since the Communist Party took over after the Chinese Civil War, the martial artists also split up into two sides. They used to help the Nationalists, but some switched over to the Communists. The reason why he backed up the Nationalists is quite simple. The Communists ranked us with the bourgeois.”
Kurshenbai’s teacher was the first to switch over to the Communists after the Chinese Civil War. The Communist Party was worried that if they continued to go against the martial artists, they would get severely hurt, so they gave preference to the ones who came to their side.
Ahn Soo Ho tilted his head.
“It sounds like you’re saying you’re loyal to them now.”
“That’s right. We can’t win over reality.”
There were many fighters that fled to Taiwan after the civil war, but there were more that remained. There was the reason of not being able to leave home and move their headquarters, but there were those who faced degradation in order to make a comeback. The suppression of those who didn’t cooperate became more severe, and it reached its peak during the revolution.
“In the end, we surrendered, but we can’t let Kurshenbai dominate us forever.”
The Communist Party welcomed their surrender, but that didn’t mean that they would just watch as Kurshenbai became more powerful.
“They expected Kurshenbai to have opposition. They didn’t make it obvious, but that’s what they thought.”
“I’ve heard that too.”
It suddenly came to mind.
‘I’ve heard of the training camp before…’
He remembered it to have a lot of Chinese soldiers as well. And in the private guard sector, there were many more Asian sergeants with martial arts abilities.
“Jang Jin Min?”
“He’s a fellow pupil under the same teacher.”
Ahn Soo Ho scoffed.
“Did you hear about me from him?”
“Then you must also know that I always keep my word.”
“I’m retired. Do the Chinese call it was.h.i.+ng off the gold dust?”
When he saw the pain in her eyes, he tilted his head again.
“If he has a request, why didn’t he come in person?”
Ahn Soo Ho looked back at Logan.
“Mr. Jang pa.s.sed away in Ethiopia two months ago.”
“In the midst of training a prime minister’s guard, he was attacked by rebels.”
“Rebels in Ethiopia? Their politics is a mess, but they should have good control.”
“I don’t know the details, but a democratic revolution group showed up.”
Ahn Soo Ho nodded and didn’t ask anymore. It would be sad for them to be informed of the death of someone they knew. However, that was all.
“That’s unfortunate. So what is it that you want from me?”
“He was in charge of introducing alliance sectors to foreign countries. But…”
Shun May trailed off, but he knew what she was meaning to say.
“Did anyone help Jang Jin Min?”
Most middlemen didn’t work alone. They couldn’t once they expanded their scale. Ahn Soo Ho was special for working alone from beginning to end.
“They did, but they went off on their own as soon as he died.”
He shouldn’t have laughed, but he did.
‘Yeah. It would have been weirder if he didn’t betray him.’
By s.n.a.t.c.hing Jang Jin Min’s ledger, he could keep all the profit for himself. That was how the world was.
“So money is the problem.”
It was difficult to come to this point.
It was frustrating to talk to Chinese people. They could just straight up ask for help, but their dignity was more important to them. In the end, it was a money-related problem. They formed an opposition group and attempted to penetrate the military working under the party.
It was a mercenary’s job to provide gifts and bribes and obtain their funding. And the Chinese Community Party probably encouraged them for bringing in foreign currency. Was this the potential of 1.4 billion that Kurshenbai was talking about?
It was possible that he was jumping into the world of mercenaries. It wasn’t really loyalty toward the party but more like local patriotism. The reason why overseas Chinese were scary was because of their pride that drives them to protect their tradition and culture. If even just 1% of the 1.4 billion left the continent, it could be a problem in many ways.
“So how much do you need right now?”
Shun May and Chang Ming both hesitated at Ahn Soo Ho’s question. Were they still trying to protect their pride? As soon as Ahn Soo Ho sighed and opened his lips, the door smashed open.
“Ahn Soo Ho! Let’s fight!”
What was this? Was this the cliché b.l.o.o.d.y battle that everyone always saw in action movies? These crazy b.a.s.t.a.r.ds! They should just open a fighting compet.i.tion. How about that?
‘A fighting compet.i.tion…That’s not a bad idea.’
Attempts were made before. However, true prestige doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. Ahn Soo Ho looked at the man who broke the door and got up.
He needed a good beating.
There was no mercy for men.
“You look like you’re in a good mood, CEO Ahn.”
“Oh, Mi Na.”
Ahn Soo Ho, who was smiling at his fighting memories, smiled at Kang Mi Na of Yesterday as soon as she approached. The Shanghai Main Stadium was turned into a concert hall in no time. He normally wouldn’t have attended such an event during the BRICS Summit, but Ahn Soo Ho made it happen.
The world’s interest in Hosoo Entertainment and their connection to China was hot as ever, but Korea was especially interested. President Lee Joong Hyun, who attended as an observer to get rid of the ban against Korean culture, was degraded for being less effective than an entertainment agency.
“Something good happened.”
“That’s a company secret, so I can’t tell you.”
The way Kang Mi Na stuck out her tongue would have won over any man. They were busy rehearsing for the performance that would be held the next day. They were all wearing casual wear, so it looked like they were on a school trip, and they all looked tired from their month-long tour.
The way Ahn Soo Ho saw it, there were going to be dating rumors going around amongst the fans. He made an order as the CEO. Hosoo Entertainment didn’t recommend dating, but it wouldn’t forcefully get in the way either. It was true that dating was fatal to those who were just starting out as an idol or actor.
Kang Mi Na sunk down next to Ahn Soo Ho.
It wasn’t a private location, but a place where many people could walk by. Did she have no interest in other people’s eyes? That wasn’t true. She wanted people to see this because this was how rumors were started.
“Thank you, CEO Ahn.”
“For taking us in.”
Seo Joo Kyung brought over four groups from JT Entertainment. The idol group, Yesterday, the solo singer, Yoon So Hee, and actors Jang Geon Woo and Jung Cha Hee. Ahn Soo Ho didn’t know if any of them were popular or not.
“I invested in your potential.”
He didn’t want to admit that he didn’t know, so he beat around the bush.
“Isn’t it Yesterday’s turn soon?”
“Oh! I’m sorry.”
Kang Mi Na stumbled as she got up and ran off. People would have expected her to smile at her own klutziness, but she walked off with ease. The other Yesterday members swarmed in.
“Hey! What happened?”
“Huh? Tell us. Is CEO Ahn single?”
“Women aren’t crazy. Who’d leave him alone to be single? He probably has someone. I’m sure of it.”
“He could be single. Women feel burdened by men in high positions.”
“I hope he’s single.”
“I thought he wasn’t your type.”
“It’s not like handsome faces last anyway. And he has a good body.”
The members squealed and caused a fuss.
“Yesterday! Come up!”
When the production staff called them, they turned into professionals. Kang Mi Na received a microphone and went up to the stage, and then stared at Ahn Soo Ho who was seated with a phone to his face.
‘Slowly, a little bit at a time.’
There was no need to rush.
“Huh? Of what?”
“Kids these days are scary.’
Ahn Soo Ho laughed into the phone while receiving Kang Mi Na’s strong gaze. Did she sense it? Jang Seol Hyun’s voice turned sharp.
“If you cheat on me, I’ll kill you.”
“Don’t you trust me?”
“Of course, I do. But I don’t trust the countless wenches around you.”
Ahn Soo Ho had to comfort her so that she wouldn’t fly over to China.
“You should be the one to be careful.”
“Don’t you trust me, Mister?”
“Of course, I do. But I don’t trust the countless b.a.s.t.a.r.ds around you.”
“Pfft! What was that?”
Jang Seol Hyun eased off in response to Ahn Soo Ho’s mockery.
“Oh! The director is here. I’ll call you back later.”
“Okay. Get back to work.”
When Ahn Soo Ho hung up, someone sat down next to him. This time, it was a man.
“Why did you have to call over a busy person to China?”
“You’re jobless. What are you talking about? And all your money is going toward your divorce.”
Henry got married three times up until the age of forty-eight, and all three ended up in divorce. And it was the woman who initiated every time. He didn’t understand why he kept on getting married if he was going to get divorced anyway.
“Are you telling me to work under you again?”
Ahn Soo Ho handed over the business card he got from Shun May.
“Call him. It seems like he needs someone who knows the mercenary world well.”
“Oh, is this related to Jang Ji Min?”
“Do you know him?”
“It’s hard to gain trust as a Chinese broker in this world. Jang Ji Min…was a good friend. But I won’t thank you, Soo Ho. It was partly your fault that I ended up jobless.”
Henry got up and then laughed bitterly as if he remembered something.
“A war has started between J-Law and Angola. Europe is in chaos. Friends have been discretely asking me if you could help them out. Any interest?”
Ahn Soo Ho smirked.
“Kiss my a.s.s.”
< Protect – Episode 66 – Shanghai Express  > The end.