Life, Once Again! - Chapter 476
Miyeon realized that there were thorns in Maru’s words immediately after she said that word, but she did not apologize or make an awkward smile. In fact, she frowned and looked at Maru.
“I don’t know how you know about the madam, Mr. Maru, nor what you think about this incident, but this is not a matter you should get involved with so easily.”
Maru pulled on the newspaper article he still held on to. This was a problem that involved a lot of people and a lot of incidents. She was also almost used to their advantage after blindingly rushing into it, wasn’t she? Senior Dongwook told her to take it slow. That was a warning. This was something dangerous, so she did not plan on getting a high school student who just entered this industry involved in this.
She stuffed the article cutouts in her backpack and was just about to go back to her car when a strong grip held her hand back. Miyeon looked back at Maru with a bit of panic.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“I understand that you’re worried about me and that you’re trying to prevent the reveal of this incident in a half-assed manner which would make the whole deal less significant. However, someone I know is involved with Lee Miyoon, and not in a good way.”
“With Lee Miyoon?”
Miyeon looked down at her palms. Maru’s attitude had changed from his logical and calm one during the interview. He said that someone he knew was involved. She could tell that that someone was very important to him through the pain she was feeling in her wrists.
After a bit of hesitation, Miyeon shook her head.
“Then tell that person to never have a private schedule with Lee Miyoon. But you can’t say it as though she’s a bad person. This is all speculation right now. As long as that person maintains a certain distance from her, she won’t be able to do anything. That’s what this is about after all.”
“It won’t take that long.”
He clearly wasn’t going to relent. Miyeon looked around her. She did so in order to see if anyone around them was listening to them, and also because it was hard to face Maru head on. She had a hard time believing that this was the same person that smoothly talked about himself with a faint smile until just now. Maru was just that offensive. Miyeon was reminded of an angry male animal, no, a beast. One that bared its fangs to an enemy that entered its territory, nay, tried to touch what was its.
At that moment, Maru loosened his grip. ‘I’m not a beast’ – Miyeon could clearly hear Maru’s words as she took a step back. Feeling that she was found out, Miyeon pulled down on her hems with the hand that wasn’t holding her bag.
“My answer is still a no. I can’t tell what are practically my speculations to other people. Also, this is not a problem that a high school student can do something about. Just tell that person to put some distance between them and Lee Miyoon. That’s the best thing you can do right now.”
This involved huge entertainment agencies. Not only that, according to the actress that told her about the s.e.x.u.a.l bribery matter, people higher up than that may be involved in the matter. Miyeon never thought deeply about who those ‘higher up’ people might be. That was because she had a strong premonition that she might end up letting go of this matter once she started digging that far. If she was to maintain the puny journalist mindset that senior Dongwook talked about, she had to focus on the problem itself rather than who she was up against.
Lee Miyoon. She was the bridge that connected everyone at the center of this incident. Although Miyeon wasn’t at a stage where she could prove that, her instinct as well as many testimonies indicated that she was the main broker.
She had seen numerous seniors who had to leave their positions because they used their pen the wrong way, and going further than that, had to forfeit their lives altogether. This incident was a dangerous item that had to be handled in secret. To give a comparison, she had to lead a huge truck carrying explosives to the side of the road with her small car and have it stop driving. The moment she made a mistake and crashed into the truck, she would be the only one being overturned. Also, once the truck started going haywire and started crashing into things, the people that needed to be protected might get caught in the explosion.
Miyeon predicted that there were other victims of this s.e.x.u.a.l bribery. The reason senior Dongwook told her to take things slow and careful when it came to prying into Lee Miyoon should have been to make her realize the dangers that would come with it, and also to tell her not to overlook the weak that might also receive damage through this incident.
She was practically running circles around a fire with dry firewood. Dragging a mere high school student into something like this was not right on her conscience, nor her work ethics.
Miyeon put her bag on the passenger seat and closed the door. Maru seemed to have given up as he didn’t say anything. Miyeon sighed in relief, thinking that he had finally understood.
She went around to the driver’s seat and opened the door. Now, all that was left for her to do was to leave. Although this could be considered a bad goodbye, she thought that she had to say it at least and looked at Maru.
Maru was holding up his phone. He was moving his fingers busily as though he was about to send someone a message. At that moment, Miyeon had a bad feeling. Maru smiled apologetically as he looked at her.
“Lee Miyoon will hide her tail once she knows about this, right?”
“Don’t tell me you’re….”
Miyeon quickly approached Maru and whisked away the phone he was holding. There were a lot of words written on the phone screen. It asked what she thought about s.e.x.u.a.l bribery.
“Are you crazy?” Miyeon didn’t hold back her words this time.
“Are you out of your mind?”
Lee Miyoon was never mentioned even when the prosecutors handled this matter. In such a situation, what would she do when she received this message? She would hide herself even more. It would become even harder to gather any evidence, and perhaps this whole matter would be brought down to nothing. That wasn’t the only thing.
“I guess I can’t help it.”
Maru took back his phone before pressing a button. Miyeon looked at Maru in shock. Just then, she heard a sound from her pocket. The message she saw just now had arrived. The sender’s name was unknown.
“I don’t know Lee Miyoon’s number.”
At that moment, she reminded herself of the fact that she gave him her business card back at the café. It wasn’t surprising that he knew her phone number. She felt pathetic for not remembering it, and laughed in vain when she experienced his scamming skills.
“But it’s not that hard to find out. She did express interest in me after all. I’m not doing this because Lee Miyoon was involved in s.e.x.u.a.l bribery. I don’t plan to discuss justice with you, nor do I plan to become some sort of exemplary citizen. However, if there’s the slightest possibility that that woman can become harmful to the person I know, then I want to know about it beforehand.”
Maru pointed at the café again.
“If you leave now, I won’t be able to guarantee what kind of actions I will take in the future. Since I don’t know anything, I’ll start poking around everywhere, and the day Lee Miyoon hears about my weird actions, the results of your investigation will become nothing but trash. So, can we talk just a little so that we don’t waste both of our time?”
If you want, I’ll buy you coffee – he added before shrugging.
Seeing Maru point at the café, Miyeon sighed a little.
“This is not something you can do anything about just because you know about it.”
“I know that already. I don’t plan to either. I just want to know just in case.”
Miyeon bit her lips as she returned to her car. She opened the passenger seat before taking out her bag.
“It won’t be a fun story,” she said as she closed the door.
* * *
“And that’s as far as I’ve found out until now,” Miyeon said to Maru who was skimming through her notebook.
The first snow of the year was falling outside. The small snowflakes at the beginning had turned into rather heavy snow right now. The world would probably be dyed white tomorrow morning.
She made a bitter smile. She didn’t know what she was doing here. At first, she was planning to tell him briefly and end things there. Her plan was to persuade Han Maru, who showed interest in this incident with a youthful curiosity and a vague sense of wariness, before going home, but the farther their talk progressed, the more Miyeon talked about thanks to Maru’s insight.
“By circ.u.mstantial evidence, it’s highly likely that Lee MIyoon was involved.”
“I say 100 percent.”
“Maybe. But aren’t you dropping the honorifics too easily?” Maru said as he sipped some tea.
Miyeon snorted back.
“Then would you like me to treat you politely again?”
“No, this is actually much easier for me as well.”
“You really tire out the people around you, don’t you?”
“Not entirely. But was the s.e.x.u.a.l bribery incident resolved after the broker was arrested?”
“I looked into that as well, but that seems to be the case. There was a crime, and there was someone that confessed that crime. It’s not like I can ask for help at this point in time.”
“So the key to solving this incident is to find out what kind of contracts, if any, there are between Lee Miyoon and Soul, right?”
“It’s just as hard to find that out as it is important.”
“About the s.e.x.u.a.l bribery, the people involved are mostly new actresses and singers, right?”
“Yes, they’re the people most desperate for an opportunity after all. I think that the majority of the time, people involved in this approach them after finding the right opportunity. After all, these days, they might end up posting about it on the internet if they’re too forceful. MH Entertainment’s incident was like that. But also….”
Miyeon lowered her voice a little.
“I hear that there are a lot of people who willingly do such a thing.”
“It’s an incredibly charming offer as long as they don’t get found out. I think I’ll also consider it if complete secrecy was guaranteed – if I get some money or a role in a drama just by sleeping with someone once.”
“Don’t ever do it.”
“I said I’ll consider it. There’s no perfect secret in this world after all. Moreover, it’s obvious that you’ll eventually get caught doing it, so there’s no need to do it.”
“What a free way of thinking. Normally, people even detest talking about this.”
“It’s a result of people struggling their best to make a living, isn’t it? I can understand them. I can sympathize with them too. The world these days isn’t so clean that you can tell them that they should compete fair and square. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the ones that do are foolish to do so.”
Maru closed all the notebooks and put them in front of Miyeon in a neat pile.
“So? What are you going to do now?”
“Nothing. I listen to other people’s advice.”
Maru’s eyes seemed to gleam as he said those words. Miyeon believed Maru’s words. He should be telling the truth when he said that he won’t be doing anything. However, she was a little worried since those eyes clearly indicated that he was going to take action as soon as something went wrong.
“I’ll contact you once I find a good opportunity.”
“A good opportunity?”
Miyeon looked up at Maru who was standing up. Maru nodded back at her with a smile before leaving.
‘I wonder what he’s thinking about.’
Miyeon sighed as she drank the cooled tea. She had unexpectedly got a helper. Although she didn’t like this situation, why was it that she also looked forward to it somewhat?
“Let’s go for now, eh?”
Miyeon put her notebooks inside her bag before standing up.