Becoming Rich (2)
The next day, in front of the school…
Kang Jin-Ho's expression while staring at his bicycle was rather tragic.
Even though he had been very gentle this morning, the pedals still broke.
Just what were the manufacturers using to produce these bicycles? Even the gentlest push from him still wrecked its components like this.
And those folks were actually charging so much money for defective products like these!
“I definitely need a sturdier bicycle…”
Normal people couldn't break the pedals even if they furiously pedaled away at it billions of times.
But a serious Kang Jin-Ho could easily break the whole bicycle in a matter of minutes. The pedals wouldn’t be able to endure the pressure, the chains would snap in half all the time, etc…
Even if the bicycle managed to survive the abuse one day, it would fall apart the next day like it had a scheduled self-destruct timer.
Kang Jin-Ho sighed ruefully and headed to his classroom.
The whole school was in an uproar.
The chief director was kicked out of his position and starting today, someone else was scheduled to replace him.
Such news would normally be considered shocking, but nobody cared as the rumors of what happened yesterday had already spread to the rest of the school.
In all honesty, everyone thought that this development had been inevitable.
The actual uproar, however, was due to the stunning revelation of Kang Jin-Ho being Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu's grandson.
“Really?! Kang Jin-Ho is the grandson of the Jaegyeong Group's Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu?!”
“That's what I've been telling you, bro!”
“That can't be, though! I mean, Kang Jin-Ho's surname is Kang, isn't it? And the Chairman's surname is Hwang. How can they be related?”
“Jin-Ho must be from the in-laws or something…”
“Ah, you might be right.”
This was the logic that the other students used to accept this shocking revelation.
They would have never believed the rumors if it hadn't been for Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu personally showing up at school and saying it out loud.
Now, they had no choice but to believe it.
“Isn't Jaegyeong one of the top five corporations in Korea?”
“I heard that Chairman Hwang's fortune exceed one trillion won!”
“How much do you think a grandson will get as an inheritance?”
“Who cares about inheriting some money? He might end up inheriting the whole Jaegyeong Group, you know!”
All sorts of rumors had proliferated overnight.
It got so bad that people even began theorizing that Kang Jin-Ho was actually Hwang Jeong-Hu's hidden heir. The person in the center of the storm had no clue that such things were happening, of course.
Kang Jin-Ho slowly walked into the corridor, conscious of his surroundings.
He could sense that people were openly staring at him, making him feel like a monkey in a zoo.
'Are they that fascinated by me?'
A chaebol was still a human being like the rest of them.
It wasn't as if a chaebol was an aristocrat or from a different species, so what was so fascinating about someone with money?
'Besides, I'm not even Chairman Hwang's real grandson.'
Kang Jin-Ho figured that he could deny being one at a later time.
For now, though, the timing didn't seem quite right just yet.
The former Chief Director Choi Myeong-Gil was getting carpet-bombed from all sides right now, so he shouldn't swoop in and stupidly mess things up.
Kang Jin-Ho helplessly shook his head and entered the class.
“Hey, you're here!” Jeong In-Gyu rushed up to his friend at the speed of light.
“Why did you hide it from me, dude?!”
“You being Chairman Hwang's grandson!”
Kang Jin-Ho grunted, realizing that he should have dealt with this issue yesterday.
Ignoring the uneasy atmosphere in the class wasn't that hard, but what Kang Jin-Ho couldn't ignore, though, was his teachers coming to him and pleading desperately about Chairman Hwang waiting in his car for the classes to end outside the school.
In the end, Kang Jin-Ho was forcibly made to go home early and he never got the chance to clear the 'misunderstanding' with his friends.
He figured that it was better late than never.
“I'm not his real grandson.”
“So what? He still considers you his grandson, right?”
guess,” Kang Jin-Ho replied.
‘Grandson, my foot!’
He thought but, of course, he didn't say that out aloud.
Jeong In-Gyu spoke in a dismayed tone, “Duuude, you really pulled a fast one on us.”
“What do you mean?”
“How could you have hidden it for so long? There wasn’t even any hint or sign all this time!”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“What kind of sign would that be now?”
Kids with money have this layer of sophistication about them, right? Like, nice clothes or cars they come to school in.”
Kang Jin-Ho flatly replied, “I don't have a driver's license.”
“I'm talking about your dad's car!”
“Do I have to go around advertising such things?”
Jeong In-Gyu's voice turned heavy.
“Be honest with me, will ya? Is it something like…
Your grandfather ordered you to experience what it's like to live as a commoner?”
Kang Jin-Ho stared dumbfounded at Jeong In-Gyu.
What on earth was inside this boy's head? “It seems that you've seen way too many dramas.”
It wasn't just Jeong In-Gyu, however, people who weren't friends with Kang Jin-Ho all rushed up to him and inundated him with questions after questions. He could only groan at their relentless questions.
'This is getting tiresome.'
The side effects of being rich were harsher than he thought.
“Don't you dare fall asleep!”
The only person who hadn't changed at all was the homeroom teacher, Kim Seong-Ju.
The matter of his resignation naturally went away after Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu butted in and completely turned the situation on its head.
As soon as he stepped inside the classroom, Kim Seong-Ju fixed his glare on Kang Jin-Ho.
“Actually, I dare you to doze off.
I dare you.”
Kang Jin-Ho helplessly replied, “But, sir.
I'm doing my best not to.”
Kim Seong-Hu’s glare turned sharp.
“If your best isn't cutting it, then it's time to use your head.”
“I don't follow.
How do I do that, sir?”
“Don't worry, you'll see it for yourself later.
Stay awake if you don't wanna see it, though.”
Kang Jin-Ho nodded.
“I'll do my best again.”
Unfortunately for him, though…
Making resolutions was easy, but sticking to them was hard.
Kang Jin-Ho dozed off once again during class and had to suffer the humiliation of getting his head fixed to the chair with a rope Kim Seong-Ju had brought from home.
Despite his very uncomfortable sitting position though, Kang Jin-Ho still dozed off, plunging Teacher Kim into the pit of despair.
Eventually, lunchtime arrived.
Kang Jin-Ho escaped from class with a stiff expression.
The familiar classroom felt so uncomfortable to stay in today.
Pretending to not notice his classmates whispering to each other while being cautious of his mood wore his patience down, and he simply had to get out of there at all cost.
He left all those whisperings behind and began wandering in the corridors.
'There aren't any places for me to relax here.'
Excluding classrooms, there weren't that many suitable places for him to take a break on the school premises.
“What's up with that groan?”
Kang Jin-Ho looked behind when he heard Han Se-Yeon's voice.
He asked her, sourly, “Do you live in the corridor or something?”
“It feels like I always find you in the corridor.”
“That's cuz I don't stay in the class during breaks,” Han Se-Yeon replied in a matter-of-factly way.
“Taking walks is good exercise, you know? It's a good way to diet and all.”
Kang Jin-Ho sighed before retorting, “Have you ever wondered why the school's sports field exists?”
Han Se-Yeon seemed taken aback by his question.
“I'm not gonna go out there! It's gonna tan my skin.”
What an exceedingly pragmatic and straightforward answer… However, why did he also feel that Han Se-Yeon was an idiot?
Oblivious to his inner thoughts, Han Se-Yeon cheerfully asked him, “Hey, I heard you are Chairman Hwang Jeong-Hu's grandson.
Is that true?”
“…I'm not his real grandson.”
“But he still considers you as one, right?”
Just how many times had he repeated this question-and-answer routine today? At this point, Kang Jin-Ho was ready to give up.
“Yes, he does.”
“Wow, who knew that you were a young master hailing from an ultra-wealthy family?”
“No, I'm not from a wealthy family.”
“I only learned about this whole thing recently.
Even my parents had no idea.”
“Wait, how does that even make sense?” Han Se-Yeon sounded confused by his simple explanation.
Don't ask me for details because it's complicated.”
“Mmmm…” Han Se-Yeon scanned Kang Jin-Ho from top to bottom before breaking out in a meaningful grin.
“Well, you're still you, so that's fine.”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head.
“What does that mean?”
“You'll figure it out.
I'm going now~.” Han Se-Yeon turned around to leave with a wave of her hand.
“What? So soon?”
Han Se-Yeon looked back at him and sighed.
Why was this guy so clueless about things like this? “Can't you see what's going on?”
“If I stay next to you any longer, all those sharp glares will rip me apart into tiny pieces.”
Kang Jin-Ho sneakily scanned his surroundings, only to notice all those scary female glares shooting out from the classrooms to stab into Han Se-Yeon.
“What's going on here?”
“Your popularity has been going up recently thanks to your good looks, and now, your background turned out to be pretty exciting too, so this was inevitable, you know. Aigoo~, this little ol' me does not have the courage to chat to a celeb in front of everyone, so let's talk later, okay?”
Han Se-Yeon waved her hand as she walked away.
Kang Jin-Ho sensed the murderous glares soften almost immediately before they landed on him next.
He shuddered from the spine-chilling sensation.
'I might pass out at this rate…'
Kang Jin-Ho felt that no matter how many days he attended school, he wouldn’t be able to get used to the quirks of this place.
As he stood there mulling how his life had turned out so far, someone walked up and greeted him.
“So you were here, Mr. Jin-Ho.”
Kang Jin-Ho turned his head and studied the man in the black business suit.
'His name’s Jo Gyu-Min, right?'
This was the 'contact' Hwang Jeong-Hu had left behind for him.
The Chairman said it would be fine to treat Jo Gyu-Min as a personal secretary, but it'd be more correct to call him a surveillant whose real job was to monitor Kang Jin-Ho.
“Mr. Jin-Ho, I'm here to submit my report.”
“…What report, Mr. Gyu-Min?”
“It's regarding the chief direc…
I mean, Choi Myeong-Gil.”
Kang Jin-Ho silently nodded to indicate that Jo Gyu-Min should continue.
Jo Gyu-Min did just that.
“First of all, the funds he has accumulated through illegal means will be confiscated.
I've asked the relevant government entities for their assistance.
Once he loses access to those funds, he won't be able to pay his debts and will go bankrupt.”
Jo Gyu-Min nodded.
“Yes, debts. It doesn't matter how big or small, rich people have debts to service.”
Kang Jin-Ho cocked an eyebrow.
“Even though they have money?”
“They take on debt not because they don't have money, Mr. Jin-Ho.
To them, it's simply a means to acquire more wealth quickly.”
Kang Jin-Ho tilted his head in confusion.
He couldn’t understand it.
If you have money, why would you go out of your way to take on debts?
Jo Gyu-Min kindly explained, “Let's say your annual salary is around a hundred million won, Mr. Jin-Ho.”
“There's a building you'd like to buy, but it's priced at one billion.
The total of your current asset is five hundred million.
What will you do?”
“I will save up for the next five years.”
“No, that's not it.
You put up your money and the building as collateral to get a loan and buy the building afterward.
The rent you charge will be higher than the interest, so you will be able to pay off your debt well before the five-year period.
And after five years, you would have earned more money than if you paid for the building's acquisition in cash.”
“It's just a simple example, Mr. Jin-Ho.
The actual reality would be far more complicated than that.
Getting back to the topic at hand, Choi Myeong-Gil owes many people a lot of money.
Normally, he wouldn't have a problem with such debts, but now, it'd be no different from holding onto a time bomb.”
What's the conclusion, then?”
“Some time tomorrow, Choi Myeong-Gil will be left penniless.”
Kang Jin-Ho was taken aback.
“Well, the chairman ordered me to make it happen in three days, after all.”
Kang Jin-Ho couldn't help but frown a little.
Sure, he could remember the old man demanding it done in three days, but he didn't think everything would be taken care of for real in such a short period of time.
In reality, a matter like this would never get resolved in three days if the proper procedures were followed.
It was all thanks to Hwang Jeong-Hu's frightening power and influence that this matter could be dealt with so swiftly.
However, Kang Jin-Ho wasn't a fan of how this matter had panned out.
Hwang Jeong-Hu's actions meant that some people would have to postpone their original tasks to handle this thing.
And undoubtedly, a few others would have to deal with some unnecessary matters in the process, too.
What, or who would pay the price for that?
This was one of the reasons why Kang Jin-Ho wasn't so fond of 'power,’ even though he couldn't deny how clean this mess had been handled so far.
However, he understood that it was not his place to butt in now and run his mouth off.
Kang Jin-Ho's relationship with Hwang Jeong-Hu wasn't clear enough yet for him to tell the latter otherwise.
As such, he chose not to interfere with Hwang Jeong-Hu's way of doing things.
He nodded to indicate that he was okay with it.
“The principal and the dean of students in cahoots with Choi Myeong-Gil have been fired, as well.
Their illegally-acquired assets will be confiscated, and they will be subjected to the full might of the law.”
“Will they be judged fairly and objectively?”
If they were to be judged objectively…
Modern criminal law can be a little too lenient sometimes.
I can assure you that the fairness of the proceedings will not be affected even if some other interests are involved.”
Kang Jin-Ho shook his head in disapproval.
However, even he knew that those two would never get the punishment they deserved without Jo Gyu-Min's involvement.
Now that he had gotten the report on the situation, Kang Jin-Ho decided to stop caring about them.
They were small fries, to begin with.
No point in wasting his mental energy on them.
He then asked Jo Gyu-Min about something that had been bugging him slightly.
“By the way, are you allowed to come and go as you please in this school?”
Kang Jin-Ho clarified himself.
“As far as I know, outsiders are not allowed in here.”
Jo Gyu-Min grinned and replied, “It's fine, Mr. Jin-Ho.
I'm not an outsider, you see.”
“What do you mean?”
“My current post is the acting chief director.”
“Since Choi Myeong-Gil got the boot, someone has to step in and run the school.
The Jaegyeong Foundation has decided to take over the operation.”
Kang Jin-Ho was stunned to hear that.
“Can you do that without running into problems?”
“Chairman Hwang wants it done, so who would dare oppose him? Other than some minor regulatory hurdles, there is nothing to worry about, Mr. Jin-Ho.”
Kang Jin-Ho tutted softly.
“I guess having power is really convenient, then.”
“In this particular case, it'd be more correct to say financial muscle, Mr. Jin-Ho.”
Actually, 'financial muscle' had resulted in 'power' in this case, but Kang Jin-Ho didn't care either way.
He looked at Jo Gyu-Min and continued.
So, you're the acting chief director?”
“The chairman is technically the Chief Director, but he's simply too busy to deal with a minor operation like running a school, you see.”
“Hmmm. He didn't look that busy to me, though?”
“That's only on the surface, Mr. Jin-Ho.
The truth is, Chairman Hwang is involved in every one of the Jaegyeong Group's vital operations, you see.
As he is just too excellent of a leader, he's stuck in a weird situation of needing to sacrifice himself constantly.”
Kang Jin-Ho nodded in agreement.
Louis the 14th, the creator of the absolute monarchy, had cooked up a system of governance where every facet of the country would be reported directly to him.
And that resulted in him getting crushed under the weight of his work.
It sounded as if Hwang Jeong-Hu was stuck in a similar situation.
Jo Gyu-Min continued.
“Even so, the chairman's workload has decreased by a lot compared to the days before his collapse.
People have already begun commenting that he has changed a lot lately.”
“Is it okay for you to tell me all this?”
You're my superior, after all.”
“Your superior, is it…” Kang Jin-Ho tutted away in slight disapproval.
Jo Gyu-Min observed his reaction and recalled his discussion with Hwang Jeong-Hu yesterday.
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