ngle time because I keep finishing them all? ’

Having arrived at a likely conclusion, Kang Jin-Ho slowly nodded, then directly addressed his mother, “Mother, if I ’m being honest…
Eating this much for breakfast is a little too much for me.”

‘And if I ’m being even more honest, Mother…
Never mind breakfast, this much food is just overkill for human consumption regardless of whether you eat it during the day or not!’

Unfortunately for him, Baek Hyeon-Jeong responded with a loud unimpressed tut.
“What are you even talking about, son? Look how skinny you are despite how much I ’ve been feeding you! Decrease your food intake, and you ’ll end up as a skeleton in no time, son!”

“…Huh.” This was the first time in Kang Jin-Ho ’s life that he began cursing his physique capable of automatically maintaining its most optimum state.

Baek Hyeon-Jeong pointed to the food.
“Now, eat!”

“Yes, ma ’am!” Kang Jin-Ho ’s expression hardened from the determination as he picked up his spoon.


“…So, that ’s why.” Jo Gyu-Min stared at Kang Jin-Ho ’s swollen belly, then slowly shook his head.

’Well, Mister Jin-Ho does kinda look a bit skinny, but… ’

Of course, Jo Gyu-Min was fully aware of the fact that under Kang Jin-Ho ’s clothes were finely-honed muscles packed so tightly they might cry out, “We ’re gonna suffocate in here!” Even so, he couldn ’t deny that Kang Jin-Ho outwardly looked just a bit skinny.
Still, it was perfectly fine in Jo Gyu-Min ’s book.
However, Baek Hyeon-Jeong probably thought that her son was starving to death.

“In any case, can you tell me what ’s going on, Mister Gyu-Min?” Kang Jin-Ho asked as he glanced around the corridor leading to Chairman Hwang ’s office.
He had heard last night on his way home that Hwang Jeong-Hu wanted to speak to him, so he made the appointment for this morning.
Well, he had nothing better to do these days, anyway.

“I think it ’s not my place to discuss this matter with you.
For now, let ’s head inside first,” said Jo Gyu-Min.

“Alright.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded, then headed to the chairman ’s office.

The personal assistant guarding the doorway noticed Jo Gyu-Min and Kang Jin-Ho, then quietly sent the word inside the office before pointing at the door.
“Please go straight in, gentlemen.”

“Thank you,” said Jo Gyu-Min with a slight bow.
Hierarchy-wise, he occupied a higher rung on the ladder, but the personal assistant was older than him.
He was doing his best to remain courteous to his elders even if he was their superior.

Once they stepped inside the office, Hwang Jeong-Hu welcomed them with a slick grin.
“Feels like it ’s been a while, Jin-Ho.”

“Yes, it seems that way.”

“How have you been so far? Any noteworthy events?”

Kang Jin-Ho slightly cocked an eyebrow while staring back at Hwang Jeong-Hu.
“I thought you have been receiving all the reports about me?”

“This fella! We ’re just exchanging pleasantries here, so no need to be so stiff.
Now then, take a seat.”

“Alright.” Kang Jin-Ho settled into a spot on the couch.
The personal assistant immediately brought in coffee for everyone.

Hwang Jeong-Hu urged Kang Jin-Ho to enjoy the drink, waited until the young man took a sip, then got down to the business at hand.
“Indeed, I ’ve heard about things happening around you.”

“I see…” Kang Jin-Ho nodded slightly.

“We tried to investigate more about the ones from China, but nothing of note has come up so far.
Turns out they are quite secretive.”

Kang Jin-Ho nodded again, this time a little more contemplatively.
Jaegyeong was certainly a powerful corporation, but it wouldn’t be able to deal with the likes of Martial Union if that organization was as powerful as Jin Bao had alluded to.

“Stop investigating them, please,” said Kang Jin-Ho.
His sudden request made Hwang Jeong-Hu stare back at him with a slightly confused gaze.
“Carelessly approaching this matter can lead to the destruction of Jaegyeong.
Please leave them be.”

Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s eyes twitched a little just then.
Jo Gyu-Min, silently observing this exchange nervously gulped back.

’Who would dare say such stuff in front of Chairman Hwang?! ’

To Hwang Jeong-Hu, Jaegyeong was basically his life.
And he was everything to Jaegyeong, as well.
He was the corporation named Jaegyeong, and Jaegyeong was Hwang Jeong-Hu…
So to openly say Jaegyeong could be destroyed? What a bold thing to say that was.
No one alive would want to be subjected to Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s fury, after all.

However, this young man still brazenly said those words out loud in front of Hwang Jeong-Hu!

“Is it dangerous to do so?” Hwang Jeong-Hu quietly asked.

“Very much so.” Kang Jin-Ho nodded affirmatively.

Hwang Jeong-Hu furrowed his brow and remained silent for a little while before nodding away.
“Very well.
We won ’t proceed any further on this matter.
If you say it ’s dangerous, it must be.”

Kang Jin-Ho responded with a brief nod, but Jo Gyu-Min was taken aback by what just happened.
As it turned out, Hwang Jeong-Hu ’s trust in this young man ran far deeper than Jo Gyu-Min had bargained for.

’At this point, calling Kang Jin-Ho the second-in-command both in name and in reality is not an exaggeration. ’

People in the loop obviously had a feeling that this was the case.
However, now that Hwang Jeong-Hu was openly acting this way, though…
There could be no other clearer acknowledgment than this.
Even the ’official ’ second-in-command, Director Baek Yeong-Gi, would never dare to mention the destruction of Jaegyeong so carelessly.

This meant that a young man without some lofty position in the corporation but a lowly intern on paper had become the second most influential individual in this company.

This acknowledgment shouldn ’t come as a surprise to Jo Gyu-Min, but he still felt stunned by the implication behind this conversation.

Kang Jin-Ho took another sip of the coffee before asking a question.
“Did you call me to discuss that topic, sir?”

“A part of it, yes.
This matter is not what you ’d call ordinary, after all.”

“That is true.” Kang Jin-Ho leaned back and crossed his arms while slowly nodding away.

’Looks like our points of contact are gradually increasing… ’

Kang Jin-Ho had already half-expected something like this to happen—the more he came in contact with other martial artists, the more danger his family and acquaintances would face.
The matter with Jin Bao had taught him that.
And Kang Jin-Ho didn’t wish for that.

Hwang Jeong-Hu continued, “You won ’t have much problem dealing with whatever comes your way, but that won ’t necessarily be the case for the rest of us.
It ’s not like you can stick to everyone around the clock and act like their bodyguard, now can you?”

“You ’re correct.”

“As such, I ’d like to provide the first layer of protection by having people monitor the situation from the surroundings.
Without alerting the folks being watched, of course.
I thought I had to discuss this with you before proceeding, and that ’s why I called you here.”

Kang Jin-Ho furrowed his brow.
Having guards meant you were trading freedom for safety.
And to have people protect you without you realizing it? It was definitely not as romantic as some fairy tales might suggest.
Your every single move was being laid bare to a complete stranger, after all.

Kang Jin-Ho rubbed his chin.
“I ’ll have to think about this first.”

“I understand.
However, it ’d be better to make a quick decision.” Hwang Jeong-Hu nodded.
He obviously didn ’t want to see Kang Jin-Ho ’s family get caught in the crossfire.
Not because he felt some kind of affection or attachment to them, but because he was just worried about how Kang Jin-Ho would react if something bad happened to his family.

To calm the violent storm called Kang Jin-Ho—Hwang Jeong-Hu was prepared to do anything and everything in his power.

Kang Jin-Ho asked again, “Is that all?”

Let ’s get to the main topic,” Hwang Jeong-Hu leaned forward and replied, causing Kang Jin-Ho to narrow his eyes in suspicion.
However, Hwang Jeong-Hu smiled deeply instead.
“Fella, do you have any thoughts of running your own business?”

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