Tiriri, my cell phone rang. I went through my pants and picked up my cell phone. It was Vice President Jang.
“Yes, Vice President Jang.”
“Blue E&M CEO Ahn Yong-kyun has just given us his resignation. He is going to quit his job and live in seclusion.”
“… I see.”
In the end, Ahn Yong-kyun seemed to have decided to leave the company on his own. It was late, but it was a reasonable choice. There was no point in enduring it. If he had had a stake, he could have persuaded directors and investors to resist, but he couldn’t do anything with a two-percent stake.
“Yes, but it’s strange that he quit so suddenly…”
Vice President Jang was also not aware of the situation of Ahn Yong-kyun. Well, there would be only a few people in the world who knew: me, Ahn Yong-kyun, and Tak Joon-gi, who had designed the scheme.
“But… there was a rumor.”
“The CEO Ahn Yong-kyun regrets being invested in by us… That’s the story.”
“At the time, didn’t he sell us half of his stake, seven and a half million, when we invested in him?”
“Yes, he did.”
“But now that it’s doubled… it’s a pity for him. I guess that’s what he thought. That’s fifteen million now.”
I snorted, “No, he was short of money in the first place, so he asked us to invest… but did he say so?”
He hadn’t had any money then. Now that the company was doing well, he must have thought, ‘If I hadn’t sold out then it would have been worth twice as much as now…’
I had saved him from the sea, but he would have turned into my enemy.
Vice President Jang spoke to me in a cautious tone, “… people are cunning animals, boss.”
Until a few minutes ago, I thought, ‘Even Vice President Jang doesn’t know why he really quit.’ However, he might know the more important reason: money. It might be the main reason he had joined hands with Tak Joon-gi. Blue E&M’s stock price had doubled since I had taken over, so it had been walking on the flat rates. Although he used to say, “This is what I like,” in the end, he seemed to think, “If I work hard for a company with a lower stake… it will be only good things for others”, and so he had decided to do the stock manipulation.
‘Well… that’s what it was…’ I was thinking about it, but Vice President Jang told me, “Then who should we appoint as the next CEO?”
The next CEO? I briefly recalled the vice president, Kim Jung-kyun. When he had seen the situation had changed, he had called me quickly, and said, “I support your opinion, CEO Han.” However, I couldn’t give him the CEO position right away. I had also felt something through the case of Ahn Yong-kyun: people couldn’t be trusted completely.
“… let’s run the company through the acting vice president… but we will open a board meeting and talk and pick him to manage it slowly.”
“Yes, then… do you want me to send you a list of directors?”
“Yes, and if there’s anyone outside who’s okay, please check that out, especially among those who have experience from European TV or YouTube.”
While talking on the phone with Vice President Jang, Seo’s car arrived in front of the National Library of Korea.
Seo said, “We’ve arrived, boss.”
I put my cell phone in my pocket and said, “Yes, this will take about half an hour.”
I nodded and stepped out of the car. Jang Geun followed me like a shadow. I said to him, “As I said… everything you hear from now on… is a secret, okay?”
“Don’t worry, boss. That’s basic as a bodyguard.”
I clasped him on the shoulder with a smile, “Yes.”
To be honest, I didn’t believe him, as this guy just because he was my bodyguard. He was a junior of the training center I had known since elementary school, and he had been a pupil of my father, so I only believed in that. If he had been another bodyguard, I wouldn’t have brought him here at all. I told him ahead of time on my way up to Montmartre Park.
“Oh, and… I’m going to meet someone now… Don’t be too wary of him.”
“What kind of person do you mean?”
“He’s a foreigner, similar to you. He’s a little odd-looking, but he’s not a weirdo… No, he’s weird, but he’s not dangerous. Don’t worry too much. Just mind someone else.”
I went up to Montmartre Park with him. I briefly recalled my first encounter with Crow in late July, when it had been so hot. But now in August, the trees, which had been scorching hot, were gradually changing color.
‘It’s almost autumn.’ But before the summer was over, there was something I had to do: send Tak Joon-gi to jail. I looked at the other side of the road for a moment, instead of going up to the park. There I could see the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office, the very building that often appeared on the nine o’clock news when political bigwigs or conglomerate heads were taken away. It was not long before Tak Joon-gi would be coming in and out of the place.
I sat on the bench in Montmartre Park. It was the very bench I had met Crow the other day before. Not long after, Crow appeared. Fortunately, the stupid furry clothes were not there. Nevertheless, he was still visible. So was his race’s strange appearance, and he took the same action.
I thought he’d come close to me, when he suddenly kneeled down and said, “How have you been for the last month, boss?” performing the classic subordinate greeting.
Come to think of it, it’d been like this before. I stood up from the bench and spoke urgently, “Get up… get up.”
Crow then stood up, as if he had not done anything. I caught a glimpse of Jang Geun, who was standing slightly away. Jang Geun, who usually didn’t change his facial expressions, also looked a little surprised when he saw Crow. I nodded slightly and marked OK with my fingers. I said to Crow, “It’s been okay.”
“Next time, you know that modern greeting, just a quick nod?”
“That’s how we say hello to each other.”
“Sit down.” I pointed to the bench with a gesture. Crow sat in the same place. I also sat down and said to him, “So, how was the investigation? Did it go well?”
As I asked, Crow took a brown envelope out of his arms and handed it to me instead of answering. It was thick, almost bursting. I opened it for a moment. There was a pile of A4 paper inside. Originally I was going to check the contents right here, but that would be too much. It would take me hours to read all of this.
‘I think he’s capable, but his sense is strange.’
I told him, “First of all, thank you, but… Do you know how to write emails?
He answered, “Yes, of course.”
‘Of course,’ it was a natural story, but I didn’t think it was natural for him.
“Then, I hope I can get it by email instead of doing this next time. It’s a little… cumbersome, it’s a waste of paper.”
Crow, for the first time, rejected my request. “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”
“We have to meet our client in person and deliver the information. It’s a rule.”
“Oh, really? A rule?”
“Yes. We have some rules to follow. Master Crow has chosen them… and he likes things a little classic. So, when we give information, we need to meet the information requestor in person and deliver the information. Not just emails, but even handwritten mailed letters… everything like that is impossible.”
“Well… I see. That’s a very… like a crow.”
At my words, Crow lowered his eyes for a moment, and said, “I see. I’ve… I’ve just realized that.”
Either way, I couldn’t help but accept that the rules were like that. It was me who felt sorry. I turned my head back to the report. Despite the large amount of paper, the title page read: ‘The outline of the Bisang Construction stock price manipulation case. P11.’ ‘The circumstances of the reporter Kang Joo-hyuk who killed himself. P132.’…
The table of contents was arranged that way. If I only wanted to see what was needed, I would find it in no time.
I said, putting the documents back in the envelope, “Thanks for all the work you’ve done, Mr. Crow.”
“Yes, boss. Is there anything else you are requesting this month?”
“… No, I haven’t thought of anything yet.” That was what it was. It was just when I started the war with Tak Joon-gi, and I’d have to figure out what was lacking. There was no such thing yet. I would read this report and call him back.
“I’ll be sure to call you by the end of this month. Please take a break.”
I picked up the envelope. But then, I remembered my thought of last time, ‘Next time, I’ll buy him something delicious and talk about it.’ So I turned to him again and tried to speak, “Oh, by the way, if there’s anything you want to eat…”
Once again, he had disappeared from the scene. There was no sign of him at all. I turned my head. Again, he was not anywhere in the park, it was like I was haunted by a ghost. I got up from my seat. Then I called Jang Geun, who was standing far away.
“Yes, boss.” Soon Jang Geun came running fast.
“The man I was with… Did you see where he went?”
“… no, I was on lookout for a moment…”
He was already gone like a ghost. It was all right. I’d already got what I wanted, so I could ask him slowly next time if he wanted anything to eat. I was sure I would be calling him once a month anyway…
When I got home, I spent my time analyzing Crow’s report. Crow’s report had two surprises. First, the report’s letters, which I naturally thought was printed out, were not printed at all, but written by a pen-and-pencil. The letters were neat, but slightly different from one another. All of them looked to be written by a pen.
‘What the hell is this? Is this the classic rule?’ It would have taken several more times to write all of this with a pen than to type.
‘Huh, he is literally a reporter; a reporter in the classical sense.’ These days, a simple sports article was completely human hand-operated, compared to an AI’s use.
‘That’s great… but what’s greater…’ The second was that the contents were vast but accurate. He was truly very capable. Some of the things I had asked were there. ‘How did he know this?’ It was an extraordinary level of information compared to his bizarre appearance and behavior.
‘Customer Service was right…’ I couldn’t help but accept it. With this information, it would be very easy to send Tak Joon-gi to hell. It wrote about his crimes in detail. It would be difficult to write this accurately even if Tak Joon-gi were asked to confess everything.
‘It’s strange in many ways… although this one is strangely excellent.’ When I read the report, I thought about it and laughed.
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