Life, Once Again! - Chapter 899
“Looks like you’re quite busy these days. I never see you at the office.”
Dongwook smiled as he fidgeted with the notepad he placed on top of the table.
“As you know, president, I was born under a bad star. Even if I stay seated in the office, it just feels like I’m hinting at the others to do work. These days, I can get work done wherever I want to as long as I have a laptop, so I take it outside.”
“I see. Anyway, we got the food now, so let’s talk while we eat.”
Junmin had approached him out of the blue and said that they should eat together. Dongwook was curious about what he wanted to talk about, but the president did not talk about much at all. He just asked the customary stuff like how the new notepadists were, and if there were any problems with the magazine every once in a while. He scratched the bottom of the pot with his spoon to eat the last bit and then wiped his mouth. The president also finished his meal and rinsed his mouth with some water.
“The food here is pretty decent.”
“The locals around the area recommended this place. It’s quite cheap too.”
“I should come more often. I got to know a good place thanks to you.”
“Are you going to get coffee? The vending machine coffee here is pretty decent.”
He bought two coffees from the vending machine inside the restaurant. He placed the paper cup in front of the president, who was waiting for him.
“You’ll have to be fully prepared if you want to touch the lion’s tail,” Junmin said as he swirled the coffee in his hand.
He said those words without any context, but Dongwook understood what he was saying. He had been as cautious as possible while taking action, but it seemed that he had caught the president’s radar.
“I’m not trying to set the tail on fire. I’m going to catch some of the fleas that leech off it. Not that I’m doing it myself.”
“That man, Hong Janghae, isn’t someone that you can look down on, not to mention the chairman who’s above him. I’m sorry about what happened to Miss Choi Miyeon, but in a certain sense, she was asking for trouble. You must know that too.”
“I do. I also don’t know why I’m trying to dip my feet into this shithole. Heck, pouring oil over my body and jumping into a fire sounds less dangerous than this, and I know I should very well stop what I’m doing, but my arms and legs are moving as they wish. It’s been a long time since I’ve been enveloped in useless compassion and a sense of justice.”
“Looks like you’re past the point where you can be persuaded with words. If someone under me gets caught in weird trouble, I’ll be having a hard time too.”
Dongwook felt a bitter taste in his mouth. He thought about the letter of resignation that he had stashed under his desk at his office.
“Even if I do cause trouble, I’ll make sure no harm comes here. I’m going to resign the moment I see signs of trouble. Better yet, would you like it now? If that’s better for you, I’ll do that.”
“Do you have anything to do once you leave?”
“There should be something. I’m not going to have spiders cast webs over my mouth. I only know how to do this line of work, so I should be able to feed myself if I work as an outsider notepadist or something.”
“Was I wrong in my assessment? Editor-in-chief Kim, no, notepadist Kim, I didn’t think you were this reckless when I first met you.”
“I also don’t get why I’m acting like this. I should just turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it once. But even if I close my eyes and cover my ears, I can still see and hear things; the figure and voice of a girl who foolishly tried to have a showdown with the world with truth and facts.”
“There’s nothing more arduous than fighting with the truth in hand.”
“Exactly. Only the most foolish idiots do that. And I’m about to join their ranks. I’ve already written my letter of resignation, so you just have to put your stamp on it.”
He stood up with the notepad in hand. There probably weren’t any employers who would stand up for an employee that was clearly about to run into trouble. He had to quit while he was still getting hints. If possible, he wanted to get fired and get unemployment benefits, but considering what the president had done for him until now, he wasn’t shameless enough to do that.
“When are you pulling out of your apartment?”
“As soon as I get another room.”
Pursuing the clues that Choi Miyeon had let go of meant tailing Lee Miyoon, Hong Janghae, and by extension, the YM Group. It was only natural for him to be kicked out of the apartment that the company had provided for him.
“Do take care of yourself. Your junior has gotten to that state as a consequence of lingering around the shadow. But you aren’t stopping there, you’re planning to step into the shadow and get to the real body of this, aren’t you? I can tell from your eyes. You would not have those eyes if you were planning to stop after setting fire on the tail.”
“I won’t get buried alive if I try to take care of myself, I think. Since we live in the era we live in, I’m going to be going around in streets with a lot of dashcams. Though, I guess I will be helpless if they just run me over with a car.”
“I guess there’s no helping that.”
The president stood up and paid for the meal.
“I’ll pay for the meal this time. You can pay next time.”
Dongwook left the restaurant with the half-empty cup of coffee in his hand. He never realized that he would willingly walk out of the job that he resolved to stay in for the rest of his working life even if there was a knife against his neck. It felt like just yesterday when he nagged Miyeon about all those things.
The president walked past him. Dongwook looked at his back and put a cigarette in his mouth. There was a lot to do. He had to look at the articles of the juniors who had been promoted to an office job and also had to have someone else prepare to succeed his work. He also had to pass down the connections he made to a smart guy. If he received terrible treatment here, he would have left after wreaking havoc, but Junmin treated him so nicely that he even felt sorry for it.
“Maru will be starting a movie soon.”
Dongwook put down his lighter just as he was about to light his cigarette. The president stood in front of him and reached his hand out. He stared at the hand for a long while, not knowing what his intention was.
“Can I borrow a cigarette from you to smoke?”
“I seem to recall you having quit a long time ago.”
“I have to smoke if there’s something causing me to.”
He took out a cigarette and placed it in the president’s hand. He lit it up for him and put the fire against his as well.
“I told the others to have the articles uploaded at a suitable time. They’ll start writing once they get info from that side.”
“This is not about that. You take care of the work side just fine.”
“Lee Miyoon has been semi-ousted,” the president said before he could take a puff.
Dongwook put the cigarette between his fingers. The topic had jumped from Maru’s movie to a completely different topic, but it didn’t matter. If it was anything related to Lee Miyoon, he would gladly pay money to know about it, so he asked,
“What do you mean? She must have been on the same ship as Hong Janghae.”
“That Hong Janghae has changed ships. Whether there was a fight between the two, or it was an order from the chairman, I do not know.”
By chairman, he probably meant the chairman of the YM Group. Dongwook thought about Hong Janghae’s recent course of action. The fact that he had ousted Lee Miyoon meant that he probably had another partner in Japan.
“Actually, I’ve been trying to approach a woman who came off of Hong Janghae, but if it is like this, I should try looking into Lee Miyoon as well. If she really got thrown out, we might be able to join hands.”
“The enemy of your enemy is your friend. This stood true across all ages.”
“I’ll make use of the information you gave me. You’re quite generous to someone who’s caused you nothing but trouble.”
The president puffed the cigarette twice. He swallowed the smoke and coughed dryly before throwing the cigarette on the ground and stepping on it with the back of his shoe.
“Why does it feel so strong to smoke after all this time?”
“You did well to quit. People like me get their energy through this, but you have many other things apart from this. Please look after your health.”
“I will. Anyway, watch out. Take care, whatever you do, and don’t rush it, because you’ll be hurt if you do. Though, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this.”
The president patted him on the shoulder. Dongwook put out the cigarette. He got some new info, so he had to organize all he had and come up with an efficient route. He was just about to say goodbye for one last time when the president took something out of his pocket. He tossed over the item in his hand. It was some keys. They were attached to one keyring, and one was a car key, while the other seemed to be a house key.
“I can’t afford to let a spark jump onto my tree, but I can’t let my person jump into a pit of fire without bare minimum protection. That’s an apartment I got under a name that belongs to someone who has no relation to the company at all. The same goes for the car. You should use that until you’re done. It won’t be that cramped. In fact, it might be rather empty since it’s 60 pyeong. I’ll also give you someone who can run around to get info. Of course, don’t tell anyone outside. Only the two of us know about this.”
“I’m going to process your resignation tomorrow. For the editing work, have someone else under you take care of that, so focus on that. You just need to finish things up cleanly and return. I can’t help it if that becomes difficult, but you’ll get a good apartment and a good car, so it shouldn’t be a bad deal.”
He hadn’t expected this. He thought that the president would naturally pull out since this was about touching the shameful parts of YM.
The president continued,
“To finish off what I was saying before, Maru will be starting a movie soon. But things have changed for the worse. The chairman desires something that’s in my domain. I want to walk parallel to the chairman without ever touching him, but he cast the bridge first, so I have no choice but to step over him. I want to act proud for once. It seems like the chairman doesn’t understand why I’m dedicating everything in my life to raising actors.”
He didn’t understand the specifics, but it seemed clear that the president was going to support him on this.
“Of course, I will not step up to the front. I’m putting all of this in your hands, and you just have to update me on whether you can give YM’s chairman a good gift or not.”
“I’ll try to prepare a big gift.”
“That sounds great for me.”
The chairman left in his car. Dongwook put the keys in his pocket. The first thing he had to check was Lee Miyoon’s recent state. If she, who was at the center of the prostitution scandal 6 years ago, had been thrown away and was angry over it, he might be able to make use of her. There was no one better than her when it came to driving a knife through Hong Janghae’s back.
Dongwook got in his car and called Lee Miyoon’s agency. He got an interview scheduled with her. The title of editor-in-chief of a famous magazine was quite convenient at a time like this.
-We’ll get back to you shortly.
Dongwook hung up before starting the car. He drove to the address that the president had texted him. It was an apartment located in Banpo. He was familiar with this area. He was just five minutes away from where Maru lived by foot. Somehow, he suddenly had the thought that all these buildings, from which the Han river was visible, might belong to president Lee Junmin. If it was anyone else, he might have just thought of it as a delusion, but it was definitely possible for the president. He put the key in the door lock and turned it around.
“It is rather empty for sure.”
There was only a single computer in the middle of the insanely large living room. Dongwook laughed and rotated his wrists. This workspace was very much to his liking.
 200 sqm