that to his wayward grandchild.

However, Hwang Jeong-Hu wasn't finished yet.
“Since you're done with your military service, you should be at home resting your weary soul while eating home-cooked meals or something.
So, why are you going to China?!”

“…Well, I have something I must find there.”

“Does that mean you must personally go there?”

Kang Jin-Ho wordlessly nodded, prompting a lengthy groan to escape Hwang Jeong-Hu's mouth.

He just couldn't figure out the behavioral pattern of this young man.
After easily enrolling into Jaegyeong Uni as if he was interested in joining Jaegyeong the Corporation, Kang Jin-Ho suddenly decided to enlist after only one semester.
Then, one day after his discharge, he now wanted to travel to China for some reason.
Why did it feel like Kang Jin-Ho never operated according to logic?

“Hmph. Well, if that's what you want.
However, I hope you're not thinking of starting something in China.” Hwang Jeong-Hu narrowed his eyes.

Kang Jin-Ho clamped his mouth shut.

“China isn't Korea, Jin-Ho.
We won't be able to cover you if something goes wrong on that side.
Not because we're not willing, of course.
No, it's because our influence means little in that place.”

“I'm well aware, Chairman.”

“Good to hear that.
However, I'm still not convinced if you are really aware…” Hwang Jeong-Hu groaned at length and shook his head helplessly.

The 'Kang Jin-Ho' he knew shouldn't go around causing trouble.
In all honesty, the incidents Kang Jin-Ho had been involved in so far hadn’t been started by him.
It would be more correct to say that trouble had a way of zeroing in on him instead.

'However, it's how he responds that's the problem here.'

Indeed, the problem was not with Kang Jin-Ho causing trouble since he wouldn't do that.
No, it was with his mindset of how he never tried to avoid trouble if it came knocking on his doorstep.

If trouble showed up, Kang Jin-Ho would use all his might to utterly crush it.
In Korea, Hwang Jeong-Hu could use his influence to mitigate the fallout from such actions.
However, doing the same in China was next to impossible.
Not to forget, China was comparatively less… 'sensible' than South Korea.
Who knew what could happen by carelessly unleashing Kang Jin-Ho in such a place?

“Jin-Ho, do you really have to go there?” Hwang Jeong-Hu asked one more time just to make sure.

“Yes, Chairman.”

“Mm…” Hwang Jeong-Hu rubbed his chin as the gears in his head spun quickly.
This young man was his lifeline.
Which meant Hwang Jeong-Hu should resort to every method at his disposal to ensure Kang Jin-Ho's safety.
“Very well, I understand.
It can't be helped if that's what you want.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu knew very well that Kang Jin-Ho's mind couldn't be changed once the latter was set on his ways.

Hwang Jeong-Hu leaned back against his chair.
“Alright, so…
What do you need my help with?”

“I'd be grateful if you could sort out my passport as well as the visa application.”

“Mm? That doesn't sound hard.” Hwang Jeong-Hu slowly nodded.

Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“Yes? Is there a problem?”

“Don't you think we need a sound pretext to expedite the issuing of your visa?”


“What era do you think this is? Even I can't create a passport or a visa out of thin air just because I feel like it.”

“…In that case, what should we do?”

Hwang Jeong-Hu smiled brightly.
“We need to create a suitable cover story for your trip to China, even as just paperwork, so…
How about making it look like you are joining Jaegyeong as an employee…”

“…I'm fine with waiting, Chairman.”

“Huh-uh. Listen until the end, will you? Since you're still a university student, formally hiring you is not feasible, but as an intern? That's a good cover, don't you think?”

“Mm…” Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow.
“…I think that much will be fine.”

“Mmhm. Indeed, it'll be fine.” Hwang Jeong-Hu smiled in satisfaction.
He was happy about creating yet another thread connecting him to Kang Jin-Ho in this manner.

Kang Jin-Ho's personality meant that if someone forcibly put a collar around his neck, he would choose to rip off the throat of the one who had put it there rather than cut the rope and escape to somewhere safe.
The best way to approach people like that was to be patient and to gradually get closer and closer to them like fabric slowly being dyed.

“Only by doing so will we be able to ask for cooperation from the Chinese companies on friendly terms with Jaegyeong.
The Chinese don't really like the idea of another country's businessmen doing whatever they want in their country, so providing support through a third party should be the right call in this case,” Hwang Jeong-Hu explained patiently.

Kang Jin-Ho silently nodded away.
Whether Hwang Jeong-Hu was being truthful or simply trying to tie Kang Jin-Ho down—it didn't matter…
As long as he could go to China as soon as possible.

Hwang Jeong-Hu continued, “And…
Are you planning to go there alone?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Mm? Do you know how to speak Chinese? Like, Mandarin?”

“Of course…” Kang Jin-Ho coolly nodded.

“Really? May I remind you that many different tribes and cultures, therefore many different languages, co-exist and intermingle in China? In other words, simply knowing Mandarin or Cantonese won't always get you out of a tight spot.”

Kang Jin-Ho frowned a little.
Now that he thought about it, didn't he realize how much the modern Chinese language had evolved from its ancient counterpart while studying Hanmun during high school?

After observing Kang Jin-Ho's uncomfortable-looking expression, Hwang Jeong-Hu tutted loudly as if he had seen this coming a mile away.
“Tsk, tsk… I knew this might happen.
Don't worry, I'll have a trusty interpreter ready, so take that person along.”

Kang Jin-Ho mulled this offer for a second or two, then slowly nodded.
This seemed a bit unnecessary, but accepting Hwang Jeong-Hu's consideration wasn't such a bad idea.
“However, being accompanied by a stranger could get uncomfortable, Chairman.”

“No need for that kind of worry.”

“I'm sorry?”

“You think I haven't considered things like that? Of course, it's someone you know, so no need to be worried, Jin-Ho.”

“I see.
In that case, I accept.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded again.

Hwang Jeong-Hu revealed a content smile.
“Well, then.
Take care of yourself while in China, okay?”

Kang Jin-Ho was about to leave, but then stopped.
“By the way, Chairman…?”

“Mm? What's the matter?”

Kang Jin-Ho seemed like he had a question of some kind on his mind, but he eventually shook his head.
“No, it's nothing, Chairman.”

“Mm? That's a bit of a letdown.”

While the two men were finishing up their conversation in the chairman's office, the 'trusty interpreter' mentioned by Hwang Jeong-Hu was receiving his new orders in a different office.

“…C-China, sir?” Jo Gyu-Min asked, his voice noticeably trembling.
“Why China, out of the blue?”

Director Baek Yeong-Gi laughed loudly.
“Chairman wants you to accompany and assist Mister Kang Jin-Ho.
And he's planning to visit China, so we want you to follow him as an interpreter.”

“A-an interpreter?”

Baek Yeong-Gi tilted his head in confusion.
“Mm? I see in your resume that you got the evaluation of first grade in both the Hanja and Chinese tests, though?”

“…Director, sir.” Jo Gyu-Min opened his mouth to say something that a salaryman should never say to his superior.
“Sir, I…
faked it a little.”



A strange silence descended upon the director's office.

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