Sungyoon rested for a week. Shinhae had consoled him as he had cried his eyes out, and a lot of the guilt he felt about killing a human had waned. He enjoyed life with his daughter. When he was enjoying the peaceful and mundane parts of his life, it happened.
He received a call from Jimin.
Sungyoon went to her company.
“Most of it has been wrapped up.”
Jimin abruptly spoke, giving no context to her words. But it wasn’t too hard for him to figure out what she was talking about.
“I see. That’s fortunate.”
Sungyoon said as if he was talking about someone else’s business. Jimin looked a bit baffled at his response.
“Yes, it was fortunate. Also, the incident regarding Nicholas was also wrapped up. Let’s talk about the arrangement made in regard to Kim Soobin first...”
Knock! Knock! Knock!
Sungyoon and Jimin heard knocks, and they looked towards the door at the same time. Jimin had an idea as to who the visitor was.
“It seems you’ll hear about the arrangement from the principal parties involved.”
Jimin stood up and exited her office. Sungyoon followed her. The people who knocked on the front door of the company had entered the building.
They consisted of two people.
The first person was an old man. However, there was still a bounce to his step. He had dyed his white hair and done his best to mask the passage of time. However, his face was full of wrinkles, giving a glimpse into how long he had spent on this Earth.
The second person to enter was a man who looked to be in his mid-20s. He was tall, and his eyes overflowed with strength. He was a striking man with prominent cheekbones.
It seemed that even though Jimin was expecting guests, she had guessed wrong about the visitors. She looked flustered as she moved towards the two men. The older-looking man let out a bright smile when he saw Jimin.
“Jimin! How many years has it been!”
He acted as if he was meeting his granddaughter, whom he missed. He opened both arms as he approached her. However, as if he had realized something, he came to a stop and put down his arms.
“No. This isn’t it. You're a grown woman now, and also the president of a company. I can’t continue to treat you like a child.”
He put on a solemn face, and then, he slightly bowed as he extended his hand towards Jimin.
“President of Jungbum, Hahn Jimin, it is good to meet you.”
The words had the effect of breaking her out of her flustered state. Jimin, who was always cold, laughed. Sungyoon looked a bit surprised as he looked at both of them. By their tone and actions, it seemed they were quite close.
“It is good to meet you too, Chairman.”
Jimin didn't turn down the offer. She lightly grabbed his hand, and shook it.
“Hey, Hyunwoo. Look at this. Jimin is all grown up.”
He uproariously laughed as he spoke to the other man who had accompanied him. The man named Hyunwoo approached Jimin.
“It’s been a while, Jimin.”
“It’s been a while, Hyunwoo ahjussi.”
It seemed Hyunwoo also knew her, and they affectionately greeted each other.
“Huh? Why do you call Hyunwoo by ahjussi, but refer to me as chairman?”
Dongin acted like an immature grandfather. He grumbled. Hyunwoo sighed as he let go of Jimin’s hand.
“You decided to treat her as the president of a company in the first place.”
“Well, Jimin is all grown up, and we are meeting each other as the representatives of our respective companies.”
“Then you should continue to treat her like that. I understand you are happy to see Jimin, but it isn’t as if we are here to talk about good news.”
Dongin’s face stiffened.
“Yes. You are right.”
He let out a heavy sigh. Until a moment ago, a childish expression was on his face. But now, it was nowhere to be seen. He looked like an executive who ran one of the largest conglomerates in this country.
“Is he the one, President Jimin?”
Dongin turned to look at Sungyoon.
“Will you give us an introduction?”
“He is a Connector affiliated with my company. His name is Woo Sungyoon. He is the victim in this matter.”
“My name is Woo Sungyoon.”
Sungyoon gave a bow.
Then, Jimin introduced the two men to Sungyoon.
“You probably already know this person, Mr. Sungyoon. He is chairman Lee Dongin. He is the leader of Korea’s greatest and world-renowned Connector company.”
“I am Lee Dongin.”
Unlike his designation as being the leader of a world-renowned conglomerate, Lee Dongin was very respectful towards Sungyoon. He even spoke in honorifics.
“I am in charge of running a company that is a rival to the company named Jungbum.”
As he spoke, he gave a playful wink towards Jimin, who let out a bitter laugh. They were in the same industry, but Dongin’s company was beyond being just a Korean company. It was a global company in a different class than her company. If they didn’t have personal ties, Jimin’s company wouldn’t have even been in Dongin’s radar.
Jimin continued the introduction.
“This person here is Sung Hyunwoo ahjussi. He is one of the greatest Connectors in the world. He is a Connector that has the ability to enter the Great Labyrinth.”
“I am Sung Hyunwoo.”
Sungyoon gulped as he shook the offered hand. As he did so, he couldn’t tear his gaze away from Hyunwoo.
In the past, he had run his own company, so if it were still the old him, he would have been more interested in Dongin. Dongin had built his company from the bottom up, so every executive idolized him. However, right now, Sungyoon was more interested in Hyunwoo.
If one currently thought about a Korean Connector, the first person to come to mind was Sung Hyunwoo. He had enormous wealth and fame. He was basically the Connector that represented Korea, and he was standing right in front of Sungyoon.
‘I never expected her to know these people…’
Sungyoon glanced towards Jimin.
“Well, let’s stop catching up on old times. We should talk about why we are here. It isn’t about anything good, so let’s end this quickly.”
“Let’s do that.”
The amicable atmosphere cooled in an instant. The atmosphere between Dongin and Jimin turned serious. Sungyoon had run a company in his heyday, so he knew what this atmosphere meant. Even if they were friendly on a personal level, they were representing their companies now. This was a silent war where each party would refuse to back down.
Jimin guided the two of them inside, but she didn’t lead them into her office. Her office was too small to fit four people. She couldn’t treat these people like her brothers Woosang and Woosung. They had to be treated with respect.
But in her small company, she didn’t even have a secretary. So she made the coffee herself.
Jimin and Sungyoon sat next to each other, facing Dongin and Hyunwoo.
“I never expected the two of you to show up here.”
They were huge figures in the industry, and they wouldn't easily move. Jimin wondered if she should be happy that both of them were here. Dongin was as experienced as anyone in this industry, and Hyungwoo possessed indomitable power. The fact that both of them showed up to this meeting overwhelmed her. It was inevitable.
“I came partly on the desire to see your face, and partly on taking care of this business. Even if we do know each other, I have to do what is needed.”
As he spoke those words, Dongin deeply bowed towards Sungyoon and Jimin.
“A Connector affiliated with our company caused both of you harm. I am very sorry.”
The leader of one of the top Korean companies was bowing his head towards them. Sungyoon was taken aback. Jimin didn’t want to be pushed around, so she had hardened her heart for the meeting. However, even she was taken aback by the gesture.
“Y... you really do not need to do this...”
Even the great Jimin couldn’t maintain her composure in this situation. She quickly leaned forward to stop Dongin.
“No. I have to do this in no uncertain terms.”
As he spoke those words, Dongin raised his head and lowered it toward Sungyoon.
“I’m really sorry for causing you harm.”
“It’s fine. I see it as an individual going rogue.”
Sungyoon also had no choice but to say this.
The reason for Dongin’s apology was simple. The man who had ambushed and tried to kill Sungyoon, Kim Soobin, was a Connector contracted under Dongin’s company.
After giving a deep bow, Dongin raised his head. He ground his teeth as he spoke.
“I never expected that bastard to create such a mess. Our company’s image is in the muds right now. I should have cut him early on when he showed no signs of growth…”
The supply couldn’t meet the demand of moonstones. Even if their public image suffered, it wouldn’t affect their bottom line too much. Still, it was inevitable that they would hear gossip against their company.
“Please don’t worry about the recompense. This happened to you of all people. I’ll be sure to give you a lot.”
It was his duty as the chairman of his company to minimize damage and costs to his company, yet he was speaking in such a way. Sungyoon wondered what was the relationship between Jimin and Dongin.
“It seems this fellow is curious about our relationship with Jimin.”
Hyunwoo, who had kept silent until now, spoke out loud.
“I see. We only exchanged basic introductions. We didn’t tell him the details.”
Dongin rubbed his chin once and turned his gaze towards Sungyoon.
“We were friends with Jimin’s father, Jungbum. To be precise, it happened when I was struggling at the bottom to create my company. We became friends during this period of struggle. Hyunwoo worked alongside Jungbum as Connectors for my company.”
Dongin grabbed Hyunwoo’s shoulder.
Sungyoon knew Jungbum had been affiliated with Dongin’s company as a Connector, but he didn’t know their relationship had been close enough that Dongin would come here himself. It seemed he was also quite close to Jungbum’s daughter, Jimin. It seemed both of these men had been close friends with Jungbum when he was alive.
“When I look back at it, those were the good days.”
His eyes became unfocused. It was the typical sight of an old man thinking about the past. Sungyoon and Jimin didn’t dare interrupt Dongin’s trip down memory lane. They waited for him to come back to reality.
“Oh my! This old man behaved shamefully in front of the young people.”
He let out a bitter laugh.
“My brothers Woosang and Woosung are affiliated with his company.”
Jimin gave additional information in order to lighten up the mood. Dongin vigorously nodded.
“They are Jungbum’s children. Of course, I have to take them under my wings. Both of them are amazing Connectors. They are contributing greatly to my company. Don’t worry about them. They are doing very well.”
“Thank you very much.”
Jimin gave a slight bow towards him.
For a moment, Dongin just stared at her.
“Do you hate me?”
His words came out of nowhere. Until now, they had been having a congenial conversation, so why did he ask if she hated him? However, it was true that there was a bit of hostility in Jimin’s tone of voice up until now. Jimin didn’t answer him.
Hyunwoo gave an explanation to Sungyoon.
“You probably know this because we sent a scout to you. It was the same with Kim Soobin. Our company tried to steal Connectors away from Jimin’s company. Of course, this created ill feelings between us.”
Sungyoon thought about the scout who had come to his house in the past. His business card said that he was from Fabion, Dongin’s company. It seemed the scout hadn’t come solely based on Sungyoon’s skill.
“I stole your first Connector, and I tried to steal your new Connector too. Of course, you would hate me. However, you should know this Jimin. I truly believe Jungbum would have wanted you to forget about him. He would have wanted you to live a happy life.”
Dongin let out a sigh.
“When he was lost in the labyrinth, I was devastated. Then I saw you set up a company in order to find your father. If you were running your company well, I wouldn’t have interfered. However, I received a report on how you were managing your company, and if I’m being honest, I had thought you had lost your mind. Moreover, I saw how much resources you were pouring into Kim Soobin. So, I snatched him away from you. You can resent me all you want. However, I saw my friend’s daughter leading such a life. I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. I had the means to do something about it.”
“... I know how ahjussi feels about all of this.”
“No, you don’t. The young cannot understand the heart of the old. I used to be like you. I thought old people were stuffy and messy in how they conducted their business. I believed them to be rooted in the past and thought that they were only trying to get in my way.”
Dongin looked at Jimin.
“Do you still plan on leading this life?”
Jimin couldn’t look straight into his eyes, so she looked down.
“... this will be my last attempt.”
Everyone’s eyes widened. Sungyoon was also surprised. This was the first time Jimin had said this in front of him.
“Everyone around me is trying to stop me from continuing with this work, and I am aware that what I am doing is abnormal. Mr. Sungyoon will be my last.”
“... I see. If that is true, it’s a good thing.”
“You probably thought hard on this. It must have been painful. However, I can’t help it. I welcome the idea that you’ll stop all of this.”
Dongin stood up, and Jimin followed suit.
“You are going?”
“I came here to give my apology and to check on how you are doing. However, I am a busy man.”
As he spoke those words, Dongin looked at Sungyoon.
“Please take care of Jimin.”
He once again turned towards Jimin.
“Since I know your plans now, I’ll stop interfering in your business. This is your last attempt, so I want you to do your best. Oh yeah, I put all of Kim Soobin’s Gems and Devices under Mr. Woo Sungyoon’s name. When he goes back to the Moon, please be sure that he picks it up from the storage facility.”
The influence of Armstrong city didn’t reach the Personal Labyrinths. This was why there were a lot of problems in trying to control fights between Connectors that occurred outside of Armstrong. Hence, if it was found that Connectors had fought each other outside of Armstrong, the administrators of Armstrong enforced a pretty big penalty. When a Connector tried to kill another Connector, the punishment was quite severe. In some cases, the punishment was to hand over all the Devices and Gems of the assailant to the victim.
This was one of those cases.
“That bastard gathered pretty good Devices and Gems under our noses. If you can handle them, they'll be of significant help to you.”
After he spoke those words, he exited the company as he swung his arms.
“Please take care of yourself.”
“You too, ahjussi.”
Hyunwoo also said goodbye to Jimin. However, he didn’t immediately exit the company, and turned to look at Sungyoon.
“It is a small present, but I left one of my Gems amongst Soobin’s Devices and Gems. I’m pretty much the representative of Fabion’s Connectors, so think of it as an apology from me.”
Hyunwoo didn’t wait for a reply. He opened the front door and departed. Was Sungyoon imagining things? But it felt as if Hyunwoo had given a meaningful glance towards Sungyoon.Previous Chapter Next Chapter